OCCASIONAL PAPERS IN

SOCIOLOGY & ANTHROPOLOGY
Kri.hna B. Bhattachan, Ph.D. nand dit a
Cane h M. Gurung, Ph.D.
CENTRAL DEPARTMENT OF SOCIOLOGY & ANTHROPOLOGY
T RIB H U V A NUN I V E R SIT Y, 1 9 9 6
r
I
CONTRIBUTORS
Ganesh Man Gurung, Reader: Ph, D, (Sociology),
Banaras Hindu University
Kailash Nath Pyakuryal. Professor: Ph, D, (Sociology),
Mi chigan State U ru versrty
Krishna Bahadur Bhattachan, Lecturer, Ph, D. (Sociologv).,
University of California, Berkeley
Hari Bhattarai, Lecturer (part-time): M,A ( Anthropology),
Tribhuvan University
Surcsh Dha kal, M,k ( Anthropology),
Tribh uvan LJ nivcrsitv
Tovc C. Kittc lse n, M,k ( Anthropology),
University of Oslo, Norway
Uwe Kie ve litz. Ph, [) ( Anthropology),
Regional Advisor, German Technical Cooperation (OTZ)
CONTENTS
ETIINICITY AND NATIONALISM IN THE NEPALI CONTEXT
A Perspective from Europe
Uwe Kievelitz
17 THE ISSUE OF NATIONAL INTEGRATION IN NEPAL
An EthnorcgionaI Approach
Krishna B. Bhattachan
Kailash N Pyakuryal
38 BHEJA AS A STRATEGIC CULTURAL CONVENTION
Community Resource Management in the Barha Magarat
Suresh Dhakal
52 THE RAJBANSHIS OF RAJGADH
Community Adaptation in the Environment of Eastern Terai
Hari P Bhattarai
78 KURMA, KOLL AND KURl AS COMMUNITY CONCEPTS
Patrilineage Deities, and Inside-Outside Dichotomy among the
Rana Tharus
Ganesh AI Gurung
Tove C Kittelson

Uwe Kievelitz
:0
n the ntem rary w rid. ethni it)' am nationalism arc burning
is u Ev n a urs ry I k into the daily media prove thi
point , While ethm trifc within nati nal undari - am often in
order to draw new national b undaries - i being d rurncmed daily on
the television am i featurinz prominently In the new papers.
university 011 uia am xirch papers have ar 0 wrestled wi th
ientific answ to it as n f th prominent ocial i ue of our
time cf.. ore arnpl • Brass 1991: v.d. Berghc 1990: Erik on 1993:
Hargreaves/Leaman I -: K II ' 19 : Krueger 199.: Ratcliffe 1994:
Smith 199_: cnneul nfGOY , 19 4; \ aldmannfElwcrt 19 9),
.A: cthni rnovern nts have prung up wi th unprecedented
iolen e in untric as din; rent f rmcr ) Yugo lavia am the
U R. Rwanda am Burundi. as \\ wit nc the painfully ncar
di integration of Canada a tcr th cparati t vote - in Quebec, am as
the controver • between the Palestinian and the Israeli has reached a
ne turning point with the assa .sination r Yitzhak Rabin. we arc
painfull y begi nning to sk our .clves: Which kind of glue hold
today' ' tales together? ' me c. ecution of om: of the foremost
intellectuals in igeria i j u ' t the lates I eve nt in the series of violent
act ions invol ing the di vergent orccs of ethnicity and nationali sm,
Depending on our und rstanding of what make up an ethnic
group, and what constitute 'cthnicity'. \\ can open the box of case
examples the world over with other long- 'tanding examples of civil
:trifc: Ireland, outh Africa. Tibe t. and Sri Lanka arc only the mo t
prominent examples of social antagonism which runs along religious.
ethni c, and/or racial line ,
Under this overall scenario of our present world. it is certainly
time to discuss the problems and prospects of cthniciiy and
nationalism with a view on Nepal. a country in which social division
- along reli gious. ethnic. even major lingui st ic (Tibeto-Burman vs.
Indo-Aryan) and racial lines - is so much more prominent than the
national glue which hold, the country together.
As my knov ledge ard insight ' about cpal :md the regi on.
however. are limited and nly lowly emerging after one year of work
in the Hinduku .h-Himalaya. I would like til reflect fr m my personal
viewpoint as a German and European and mainly draw on the
anthropological literature written there and in the USA during the last
five years. By this, I hope to throw some new light on a debate which
has only begun and which deserves to he highlighted much more
strongly in the intellectual and the public sphere in the country.
ETHNICITY AND NATIONALISM: WHAT ARE WE
TALKING ABOUT?
Ethnicity and nationalism arc very complex social phenomena with
whose understanding scientists have grappled for decades.
Consequently, dcfin itions and descriptions abound, many of which arc
not fully compatible with each other. However. a certain consensus
seems to have been established It1 the major anthropological literature
(for the best and most current overview, cr. Erikson 1993). out of
which we can draw a conceptual basis for a better understanding. I will
attempt to do this in the following paragraph.
Ethnicity and nationalism ,U'C related phenomena. Roth arc
forms or collective idcntity formation (cf. roster 199]: 235),
In the first case, that of e t h n ic i ty , such a group identity formation
refers to relationships between groups - above the family level -
which consider themselves, or are considered, as culturally distinctive
from other groups (Erikson 1993: ,12) with whom they have a
minimum of interactions. Such ethnic groups can be defined as
endogamous collectivities which postulate, through selected (I)
traditions, a distinctive identity (Orywal/Hackxtcin 1993: 598).
In the second case, that or nationalism, we arc concerned
with social processes involving groups (ethnic or otherwise) which
relate to the creation, strengthening or defense of a territory which
they regard w; a state according to their own definition (cf. Elwcrt
19X9: 449; Erikson 199:1: 99). Such groups - usually called na tions
.- can he understood as colleenvities of people whose members believe
that they arc ancestrally related (Connor 1992: 4X) and have a spatially
bounded and sovereign character (Anderson 1")l)3: lS).
In empirical terms, the following important considerations
about the worldwide distribution or the two phenomena can be made:
Only a minority of the world's states arc those in which
a circumscribed ethnic group is identical to the state
territory: in J 971, only 12 out of 132 stales fulfilled
this criterion, whereas all the rest were truly mult i-
ethnic (cr. Ant weiler 1994: 140); van den Bcrghe puts
the estimate of such multi-ethnic states at about 85'X
(v.d Berghe 1990: 5).
of
Thirty - five out of the 37 major armed conflicts in the
world in 1991 were internal conflicts, most of which
could be aptly described at; ethnic conflicts (ef. Erikson
1993: 2).
Both cthnicity and nationalism have certain communal ities
with, but should still be conceptually separated from, other 'centric'
processes such as racism or fern inism (cf. Antweiler 1994),
both phenomena as described - and possibly
constructed' by social scientists, also have number of
characteristics in common (cf. Erikson 1993: !OO f.; Vcrdcry 1994:
49}:
their understanding ,LS social process and social
relations rather than as static cultural phenomena;
the idea of fictivc kinship between the members of
the respective group (ethnic group or nation):
the creation of such relations through cveryday
interaction C'Ethnicitv cmcJ'[!,es and is made relevant
throng], social situations and encounters. end throu
people '.\' H'({.\'.I' oj' coping with the demands
challenges of lijc." Erikson 1993: I/; the same is
ill ustrated for the process of national culture formation
(foster 1991);
(he postulate of unity and homogeneity, and the
common belief in shared culture and o r ig ins
as the basis for the collectivity;
the relational concept, including the drawing
of clear bounda r ies, i.c., a couniti vc division
between a homogenous 'us' and a diff;rentialed 'th'em'
(in Germany described as 'Wir-Gruppcn-Prozessc, cf.
EI wert 19Xt): Waldmann/ Elwcrt 1989; Barth J969);
both concepts, as tar ,lS social scientists judge them.
relate to forms or social organization (Vcrdcry 1994: 35)
and act ive social construction. meaning that the
phenomena arc not 'natural', hut created by social
groups; in (his sense, even the nation has been aptly
called an 'imagined political community' (Anderson
1993 );
both phenomena draw on a combination between an
'altruistic' or symbolic, and an instrumental
aspect: the creation or 'meaning' or identity formation.
on the one, and the utilization for pol itical
legitimization and political action in view or the limited
resources, on (he other hand: (hey "simultaneouslv
provide agents l1'irh mean ing and with
channels j(JI pllt,win.£( culturally defined interests"
(Erikson IlJ93: IX: also cr. p. l O] );
both forms of social organization have effects on
people's consciousness in as much as they produce
a felt sense of 'difference' with regard to certain ochers,
The cnrnmonal it icx identified here exhibit a number of
interesting characteristics, which at the same time illustrate the state
or art and tendencies of current social science research on the subject.
First of all, it becomes aptly clear that both nurinnulism and cthnicity
arc not thought of ,lS 'primordial' or objective facts, but that their
situational and subjecti vc characteristics arc gi vcn prime concern, This
mainstream of theoretical thinking began with the ground-breaking
work of Frcdrik Barth (1960; cf. Vcrmculcn/Govcrs JlY)4),
emphasizing the soc ial procc;;scs or houndary formation i11 ethnic
Identity building rather than 'objective cultural variables, i.c.
showinj; how organized groups of people actively constructed their
idcruity.
Secundly. the inherent duality between a group (or nation, ftlr
that mailer) and ih counterpart lor identity forrnauon is an important
consideration as well because it takes the point of observation heyond
one SOCial cntny (the classical anthropological focus).
Thirdly, the double impact on the symbolic as well as the
political sphere IS a further decisive issue which has spawned as much
scientific as political debate,
Whcn reflecting on these commonalities. one could conclude
that cthnicity is just a variant of nationalism. Indeed, this is a
position which a number of anthropologists have taken ill the past.
But Katherine Verdery rightly if pointedly asks whether nationalism is
really nothing more than just 'cthnicity hacked by an army' ([004:
42). A look into both of these phenomena which arc each inspired by
history can, however. show that there arc differences.
ETHNICITY AND NATIONALISM: ORIGINS AND
GROWTH
For lung periods of history - and some present-clay situations ,lS well
- the dominant forms of collective identity formation were exerted
either through some forms of kinship systems or through states which
were usually founded on dynastic principles, again implying ki nsh ip
regulations (cf. Andersen 1093). While there seem [0 have been a Jew
individual cases of rudimentary national ideology, nationalism and
cthnicity as defined above were largely absent. 111e political
organization of the state relied for ItS formation and fixation on the
U Kievelit: . r.'lhmoly and Nationalism
adherence to a - usually religiously founded and sanctioned - dynasty,
which made it possible for very different ethnic groups with different
languages and other diverging cultural traits to coexist without a
pressure for homogenization. Indeed, through marriage as a prime
agent of kinship formation, dynasties were enlarged, leading to the
incorporation of many different ethnic groups under one monarch.
This political process, as in the Habsburg Empire, united people as
different as Hungarians. Jews (the 'Kaiser von Oesterreich' was also
the King of Jerusalem), Serbs, and Germans (cf. Anderson 1993: 28).
With the waning of the 'cultural glue' of religions and the
dynastic order since the 17th century, and the beginning project of
capitalism, modernization, and industrialization in the age of discovery
with the concomitant inventions of new and ever faster
communication means and the printing press - a new form of
'imagined community' came into being: the nation, While all
nationalism tries to establish a connection to 'prehistoric times', the
phenomenon is thus largely recent. Indeed. the French Revolution can
be said to mark the beginning of nationalism in the above defined
understanding.
It is argued that the development of nationalism as a new form
of collective identity formation was a necessary follower of industrial
capitalism, as this required "a standardization of skills. a kind of
process which can abo be described as 'cultural homogenization'.'
(Erikson 1993: l(4). In the words of Williams (1989: 429):
In the formation of idcntutes fashioned in the constraints posed by the nexus
of territorial circumscription and cultural domination, the idenlogics we call
nationalism and the subordinate subnational identities we call ethnicity result
from the vanous plans and programs for the construction of myths of
homogeneity out of the realities of hcterogeneity thai characterize all nation
building
If we accept this position, we could conclude that it this
'myth of homogeneity' (Verdcry 1994: 50) which in effect created
'ethnicity as difference' from the more latent forms of ethnic identity
formation. Thus, while the process of ethnic identity formation can be
understood as a universal process. in time and space (Orywal/
Hackstein 1993: 603), the politically vociferous form of ethnicity
only developed as a response to the threat of nationalism which tended
to neglect, even tried to eradicate, ethnic difference. In fact one could
postulate: the stronger the case was, and is, made for nationalism, the
stronger the reactions of ethnic groups who fear to be losers of the
nationalistic project.
Recently, the projects of a 'multicultural democracy' within a
nation, or of a pIuri national social and political entity have hecome
more pronounced. at least on the level of intellectual debate in the
United States, Germany (cf. Cohn-Bendit/Schrnid 1(93) or the
European Union. However. exactly this time marks the reappearance
of the most cruel (civil) wars in the name of nationalism or ethnicity.
One of the interesting social facts about the phenomena of
ethnicity and nationalism is that while until the 1960s scientists were
thinking of 'cthnicity' - then called 'tribalism' or 'nativism' - as a
vanishing category under the influence of the increasing 'nanon-
building character of the world, the 'melting pot phenomenon and
the influences of globalization. from the late 1960s onward, It was
evident that political identity formation under 'ethnic' considerations
was reappearing on the international agenda. not only in the so-called
'Third World'. hut with equal thrust in Europe and North America.
And It was III bet mostly in the industrialized and modernized
countries of Europe and North America that a doubt was cast on
national identity formation hy a number of ethnic movements: the
Flemish in Belgium. the Scots and Welsh in the United Kingdom.
Catalans and Basques in Spain, Bretons in France. Moluccans in the
Netherlands, and American Indians in the USA (cf. Smith 1992: I;
Kicvclitz 19H6). TIllS, Indeed. was the hirth of the term 'cthnicity.
Therefore. while only nationalism and nation-building were
anticipated to occur worldwide. the realitv since the 1960s shows a
complex ,UTay of ethnic claims and c l a s h ~ s : urhan ethnic minorities,
indigenous peoples' movements, violent upri sings and suppressions
of 'proto-nations' (Kurds. Sikhs. Tamils. Kashrniris), 'ethnic
cleansing' (Bcrghe 19LJ()) side by side with 'multicultural democracies'
(Cohn- Bendit/Schmid 19LJ1 l. In fact, 'cthnicity against 'nationalism
IS presently one uf the 'classics' in national and .- al least for the
'proto-nations' - even irucrnutional conflict scenario.
Thus, shortly before the end of the century we st il I experience
the simultaneous persistence of the nation-stale J.' well as of ethnic
identity in the lace of attempts at larger political and cultural units
(like the European Union) and an emerging 'glohal ccurncnc' (cl.
Foster [991) ~ meaning a world increasingly tied together and
homogenized by political, cultural, and mass-communicative
processes. This ubiquity of the two related phenomena of collective
identity formation under the combined pressures of homogcnizatinn
and 'segmentary identities' (Erikson 1993: 152) to the extreme of
post-modern individualism deserves continued social science attention.
EXAMPLES FROM EUROPE
It is difficult to find, when looking at European movements lor
cthnicity and nationalism, cases which are comparable to that of
U. Kicvelu: .. 1:1/1I111"1I\'lind Nauonultsm 7
Nepal. Neither docs one find the multiplicity of ethnic groups in most
of the countries which is so characteristic for Nepal, nor the
constellation of young parliamentary democracy ard centuries-old
kinzdorn. Nevertheless. some cases might be illustrative of the
potential problems coming up for Nepal in the future.
TIle case of Germany is interesting for its peculiar 'national
issues' during the past 150 years of history. Germany exhibits a long
history of emigration and immigration and thus actually a resulting
multicultural society, which however is constantly denied hy
politicians up to the present day (Bade 1(95). On the contrary.
historically. the idea of a German 'nation', born only in the beginning
of the 19th century and originally directly inspired hy the french
Revolution. was always prevailing; it was an understanding of nation
which was founded on patrilineal descent and common history. While
originally its aspiration was democratic and egalitarian (culminating in
the 'Frankfurter Naiionalversammlung' - national assembly - in
1H4H), it picked up more and more conservative speed in the late [9th
century. The myth of the homogenous nation. united hy German
descent Chlood'). was increasingly abused by the political rulers (the
King and thc President of the Reichstag) and in consequence not only
led to two terrible world wars, hut even more so to the incredible
conscious attempt at cthnocidc of the Jewish and Semite people in
Germany and Eastern Europe. led by a pseudo 'national socialist'
ideology.
While the complex political. social. and mass psychological
phenomena behind (Jerman history arc essentially beyond this
contribution, it is important to recognize some of the implications for
modern-day politics, The idea of 'nation' in Germany has lost most of
its appeal with the post-war generation. History as a medium of
identity formation has become very difficult to allude to in the bee of
these brutal events of the recent past. However, the idea of common
ties hy descent Cblood') is still visible in German laws - this being
the basis for determining citizenship up to today (cf Cohn-
BcnditlSchmid 1993: 201) - as well as in everyday Gennan reflections
of identity: there arc Germans and there are 'Auslander' (foreigners).
Yet this simple boundary formation in practice docs not hold true, as
at least six different degrees of 'Gcrmanness' can be differentiated (cf
Erikson 1993: 113 If.), whieh quite evidently cut across territorial
boundaries. Presently more than 7 million foreigners 0:1 live in
Germany, many of them for at least two generations.
In consequence, the construct of a 'multi-cultural democracy' is
slowly gaining ground in political debate (ef. Cohn-Bcndit/Schmid
1(93), meaning the unemotional acceptance of the fact that Germany
I
I
8 Ou;wwt1111 PUPfrS
U. Kievelu: Ethnicitv and Nationalism
has been, and is, an immigration country, and that politics as well as
social realities should be constructed around the idea that multiple
identities (both between and even within persons!) 00 not harm the
strength of a constitutional democracy, but can actually enrich it. In
the words of Michael Walzer:
I will Identify myself with more Ihan one group: I will be American, Jew.
East Coast inhabitant. Intellectual and Professor Imagine a similar
multiplication of identities everywhere on earth. and the world will begin to
look like a less dangerous place. When Identities multiply. passions will
suhside
(Cohn-Bcndit/Schrnid 1'i'i3: 348; my translation)
Whether such an attempt at a new definition of our German
collective identity/identities will be successful in future, only time
will tell.
Other European cases might Ix interesting a, well, when
drawing comparisons to Nepal. For example, there is the case of
Spain, which is a country in which parliamentary democracy has only
been established 20 years ago, hut in which the monarchy has a long
history. The beginning of this democratic venture. which was
accompanied by a strong appeal to nationalism, was almost
immediately counterbalanced hy ethnic movements in the regions of
Catalonia and the Basque country (Euskadi), which have long-
established ethnic identities, The movements were, and still arc - at
least in the case of the Basques - political in their struggle for
regional autonomy; an ideology which the 'national project' was not
ready to accept. The King, playing a very positive role in the
establishment and strengthening of democracy, nevertheless, did not
playa significant role up to the present in preventing increasing
violence from, and against, the separatist movements.
Spain is illustrative of the problems of containing ethnic
violence once it has begun and been suppressed for some time.
Violence and countcrviolcnce tend to retaliate, keeping the state
tethered to a precarious problem (cf Kievelitz 1986). Spain is also
illustrative of a country which in a historic period lost its 'vitality'
and international importance when attempting to suppress the
diversity it contained within. The rich and vibrant culture which had
developed especially in Southern Spain by the first half of the second
rnillenium with the intermingling of Jews, Arabs, and Christians of
different ethnic origins, was step-by-step destroyed in the name of a
pure Spanish Christianity until the 17th century_The advanced
scientific and university culture of the country as well as the specific
forms of art (like the 'mudejar' art, a peculiar combination of
European and Arabian art expressions) which had been the hallmark of
Spain for centuries, was thus lost (cf. Cohn-Bendit/Sehmid 1993: 204
IT.).
The case of former Yugoslavia can hardly be left out when
discussing ethnicity and nationalism from a European perspective. It
is the brutal civil war which has shocked, more than any other event
in the past decades, the Europeans, for mainly two reasons:
with the political developments after the past two world
wars, most (especially Western) Europeans had assumed
that developments in politics as within civil society in
the European countries had led to a point where external
warfare - especially in the context of the East-West
antagonism - was still probable, but internal warfare
was practically ruled out;
the emerging 'European dream' of a larger collective
identity slowly being formed from within Central
Europe. which would be able to solve noli tical and
economical challenges in the future, was severely
shattered in the course of the five-year war in former
Yugoslavia. The European Community/Union in fact
proved unahle to contain the brutal killings - which
even carne close to cthnocidal/genocidal proportions; it
was nol even successful in helping to end the war.
The peculiar fact about fanner Yugoslavia from the point of
view of cthnicity and nationalism is that for two generations, ethnic
identities - existing hetween Serhs and Croatians as well as other
ethnic groups of the country - were of low importance in the context
of the Socialist nation-building efforts of Tito.
There had been peace between Serbs and Crams since 1945. and the rate of
mtermarnuge between the groups had been high. Serbs and Croats speak the
same language. Perhaps the main differences between the groups are thai
they practice different vanants of Christianity. and that they use different
scripts. (Erikson 1'i'l3: 38 f.)
Nevertheless, with the political vacuum appearing after Titos
death and after the disintegration of the Soviet Union, former ethnic
boundaries were reactivated, mainly because of political power
interests. They were practically declared 'impermeable', even though
Yugoslavs who had undergone interethnic marriage and who were
living in countries outside of Yugoslavia often did not even know
which ethnic group they should affiliate to. Furthermore, presumed
cultural differences were discovered despite 'objective facts' to the
contrary, and they were declared irreconcilable. In fact, following the
arguments of Barth (1969), one could presume that cultural variation
r
10 OIClISlIiIW! Papers 11
between Serbs and Croats would become a more established 'fact' after
the ethnic war, the drawing of new boundaries ~ like it has been
decided upon now I n the Peace Treaty - and the resulting actual
separation of the two ethnic groups. Ethnicity - as almost exclusively
driven by political aspirations and power interests - has thus created a
way to a new nationalism which is purely ethnically based: there will
be a Serb country and a Croatian country. The incredible loss of lives
and destruction which had to he paid for such a redrawing of the
political landscape and the unsolvable oddities that have been created -
for example, an ethnically divided Sarajevo ~ are the result of ethnic
nationalism gone wild.
CONSEQUENCES FOR NEPAL
It seems to be as fascinating ~ L S it is complex and difficult to apply
scientific knowledge about cthnicity and nationalism - and especially
their combination - to the case of Nepal. In this last chapter. I will
only make a few pragmatic and cursory remarks, without any
authoritati vc arguments. However, I hope that they will at least be, in
the context of what has been said before, intellectually stimulating.
Nepal provides a complex case for the discussion of cthnicity
and nationalism for at least the following reasons:
it is a multiethnic state with at least 35 groups which
can be differentiated on linguistic and/or ethnic grounds
(cf. Bista 1972; Dahal 1995);
even the linguistic majority of Nepali speakers is clearly
heterogenous and, according to their own criteria, would
certainly exhibit a number of internal boundaries,
mostly on caste rather than 'ethnic' grounds;
the country exhibits, like Britain and other European
countries, a combination of dynastic principles of social
organization with emerging ethnic and nationalist
ideologies:
its limited natural and political resources are quite
unequally divided between different collectivities of
people.
In consequence of these characteristics and of the international
influences, it can be assumed on pure theoretic grounds that both
ethnicity and nationalism are on the rise. In fact, a surfacing of both
processes can clearly he observed at l e a ~ t since the time of a more or
less pure dynastic reign was over with the advent of multiparty
democracy in 1990 (Bhattachan 1995: 134).
Let us first have a look at the process of nationalism.
Clearly, one would presume such a process to increasingly take place
~ L ~ a consequence of modernization and ~ L ~ a reaction to the 'natural
order of diversity' in a diversified and fragmented mountain ecology. In
fact. the theoretically described process of boundary formation can
easily be verified from public debate. As it appears. it is often drawn
in contrast to India. the country which is the economically as well as
politically most important counterpart among all the states
surrounding Nepal. Ideologically. India can. <U1CI actually seems to,
figure at tunes as an overpowering adversary in opposition t o which
the ruling panics since the democratic rule in 1990 have repeatedly
tried to establish the linage of the Nepalese nation. Nevertheless. the
creation of collective identity is much more difficult than the creation
of a binary opposition, for the very facts of the multi-ethnic base of
the country and the physical limits work against overcoming this
situation fast. The very vehicles of nation-building. in the terms of
Anderson (1993). that is. the advent of industrial capitalism with its
concomitant language unification, communication. infrastructure, and
printing press establishments. show severe limitations which might
not he overCOJT1C in the ncar future. Even the important vehicle of
education (ct. Goldstcin-Kyagu ISlSl3, exemplifying the Tibetan case)
shows the same limits to providing a more unified collective identity,
hearing in mind that Nepal i docs not account for much more than one
half of the country as the first language/mother tongue (Baral 1995:
44).
The vehicle of religion - III theory a vehicle pre-dating
nationalism ;L, a uni fication agent (Anderson 1(93) - assumes
importance in the attempt for Hinduiration: not only for ito; potential
in homogenizing the 'imagined community of Ncpalis. but for its
actual potential of dividing It along the ethno-Irnguislic lines (cf
Bista IlJ92). To this end, the King and the Kingdom might playa
related. yet less controversial role. However. overall religious
pluralism is still a fact of Nepalese culture, and religion seems to play
the least controversial role in the question of unity or division in
Nepal (ct. Dahal 1995: 168).
In essence, then, the national project, at least as a nationalistic
project, remains fairly unstable; and this. I might he allowed to say,
seems to be fair enough, if one draws on the case of neighboring
Bhutan for an illustration of the consequences of an - in my eyes
often chauvinistic - ethno-nationalistic ideology with regard to ethnic
pluralism and tolerance.
What about the issue of ethnicity. then') Clearly, as the
attempt - apparently of the ruling upper caste Hindu part of society -
becomes increasingly rigorous to define and proclaim the nation (cf.
Bhattachan 1995; Bhattachan/Pyakuryal 1995), ethnic identity
12 Occasional Papers
U Kievelir: : Ethmcuv and Nationalism 13
NOTES
This article is a rev iscd version of a paper presented at a seminar on Ethnicily
and Nation-Building organized jointly by the Central Department of Sociology
and Anthropology and The South Asia Institute of the University of Heidelherg
in Kathmandu, Nepal, on December 22-23, 1<)<)."
2 The 'creation and support of cthnicity - more than nationalism - through social
SCIences, mostly anthropology, is at present a strongly debated issue (d.
Wicker 199.")
3 This marks for Erikson one of the main reasons why anthropology is the prime
science to mvcsngate such phenomena (Erikson IY93: 11.
4. In this context, the case example of Indonesia with its 'unuy in diversity' is
illustrauvc for comparative purposes.
quota systems .. before their overcoming can he attempted. But clearly
poverty cuts beyond those into other social divides: those of class,
caste. and gender (cr. Dahal 1995). Therefore, the project of poverty
alleviation has the potential to bring together major social and
political forces across ethnic divides in overcoming rampant poverty,
leading to a more equitable. multi-ethnic, and multi-cultural society
for all Ncpalis. It could - and in my opinion should - therefore be the
task of social scientists, and foremost anthropologists, 10
help to clarify the options: this would mainly relate
to theoretical and comparative studies of the different
South Asian and international models of multi-cultural
nation-building and poverty alleviation avai iablc:
help to elucidate the constraints: this calls mainly
for investigations into the complex topic of collective
identity formation (cf. the questions put forward in
Vcrdery 1994) and the role of different social actors
(c.g., the King; political panics; social movements;
ctc.) in it: and
reflect the actual societal process, including the
politics of culture, the culture(s) of politics, and the role
of science itself in that context.
formation might quickly go beyond the purely symbolic level and try
to enter more strongly the public political arena in the contest for
claims on the limited resources. In fact, this is also what seems to
have happened since about 1990, as many ethnic groups - mostly
those of non-Indian/Hindu origin - have started to establish their own
political or 'cultural' organizations and to put forward their claims.
One could presume that, as long as resources are scarce, and the
pressure for increased nationalism remains high, cthnicity will tend to
be increasingly heard and seen in the political arena - potentially even
with connotations of violence and repression (cf. Bhattachan 1995:
134-137).
As the cases of Germany, Spain, and former Yugoslavia should
illustrate. the negative impacts in terms of economic and social costs
of an increased antagonism between nationalism and politically
instrumentalized ethnicity can be enormous. Reconciliation between
the legitimate social and cultural striving forces behind both
phenomena is the main challenge for a society. .
What could be the prospects for Nepal under such a scenario?
With this question, I finally leave the position of the impartial
scientist. Both the ethnic and the national projects seem to me to have
a certain legitimacy and persistence for Nepal in the sense that, while
the overcoming of internal antagonistic differences and inequalities is
of prime importance (this would mark the trend toward, and legitimacy
for, a certain nationalism), it has to be linked, under a concern for
equity and social stability, with the realignment of resources to
different groups (this would mark the trend toward, and legitimacy for,
ethnici ty).
Two options can be foreseen from my point of view:
a. the more demanding ~ and in the ncar future possibly
unrealistic? - option being the development of a
multi-cultural democracy which
constitutionally defines itself as a nation
characterized by pluralism."
b. the more 'opportune', i.e., on close range realistic,
option could be a political concentration of all
major forces in society on the project of
poverty alleviation rather than on
nationalism or ethnicity
Poverty is the most urgent and vexing problem of Nepal, with
up to 70% of the population defmed as being poor. Poverty is partly
based on ethnic lines, and in as much as the political project of
poverty alleviation might also concern group-related poverty, it would
require the acknowledgment of ethnic identities - maybe even through
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19 9 Ethnizitaet im Wandel aarbrueckc n/Port Lauderdale
R,," 1 J I " / I I ~ I chtllo muho. kuru bhaTU!J.J, khasro mitho,
(Call a spade a pade)
- A popular , ' epali sayi ng.
I A CI" Anthropol ogy and the R e 10 lation r.
Elhni Terrain". Annual Revi e» ( Amhropoln ') , I • pp
'01
VI ker , ILR Kri hna B. Bhauachan
l
I
Kail h . Pyakuryal
ilhan , B.
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\ ' 0 le P
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hll":lgolLoodon.

'7l'r here j n d ubt "hall ' ver that the problems related to the
"-V ari u: ethni c and dcpre . ed astc group. in epal on titutc the
inglemo t riou i: ' Ue of th day fa ri ng the ' cpalesc ociety after
the pe pIe' movement of 1990. Peopl e here have ever 'in e been
asking: \ ill epal f thnic pr blem. as a ute as in Sri Lanka or
Yugo lav ia? Can the pr c : of nat ional inrcgrati n in lcpal be really
equated with the idea of a ' mel ting p t' :c i often nc? I J Icpal a
'garden of all astes and ethni groups' in the real sense? And. houJd
the monop Iy 0 th dominant Hindu hilI cas te group end?
Articles have, no doubt, ap .ared to <tddress these queri .! But
mo t of them have ' 0 01 hov ign red the poli cj impli arion of such
ethnorcgional problem: in the ntcxt nati onal integration, Thi
article intend to how that there w· . n rati nal ethnic policy in
epal in the p: t nor i there an. at th prc .cnt. It al 0 sugge IS that
the ethnic-paradigm hull be treated :c a central element in
everything related 10 planning. p lici cs, and programing, Alleviation
of poverty also demand a crious discus ' ion of the vario u
dimen ions of ethnic is ues . In that context. thi article expects to
generate a rational di: cu. sion of the implication " of ethnoregional
problems for the . cial and national imcgration of epal.
For the purpose of this discussion, e 1h n i ci I , ha been defined
as a process of reciprocal. co mmo n identification (or ' peoplehood')
marked by (a) sy mbo ls of shared heri tage. incl udi ng language.
reli gi on . and customs; (h) an awareness of similar historical
experience; and c) a sense of in-group loyal ty or ' we feeling'
associated with a shared soc ial positi on . simi lar values and interes ts.
and often , but not inev itably, identifi cat ion wi th a spec ific nati onal
origin. Soci a l integrat ion is a co ndition of achieving a rel ativel y
cohes ive and functioning interaction sys tem in a society among
different people :c a prcc ndition to nati onal integr ation, Finall y,
iI
I
I
I
I Ii Occasional Papers
v rmculcn , H.,
1994
Govers (eds ,
Til Anthropology of Ethnt city: Beyond "Ethni Groups and
Boundaries ", Amsterdam.
Waldmann, P.; G. Elwcn teds.i
19 lJ Ethnizitaet un II'wufel aarhrueckcn/Fcn Lauderdale
\\'1 ker , II.R
199
ilharn . B.
19 9
" Kultu lie ldent iraeten, und
' :llInnals en- 0 ' ussi nsstand und Fol gcrungen T gung
erdeu ch pra higen Eihn loginnen und Eih I g n, 2<;
29 . 199 • Wien , I .
I Act' Anthropology and the Race 10 lion rooS
Eihni Terrain". Annual Rein e.... 'J/ Amhrol'"l" ' \ , I ' , 1' 1'
01
Th Thr ee W"rlds: Culture and lI'orld D('I'd"I'Il/l'III
hicagorl. ondon,

Kri hna B. Bhauachan
l
Kailash I " Pyakuryal
Rou "'UIlI I" clullu mttho, kuru blul1IdJI khasro mnho,
(Cal l a pade a spade)
- A popular. ' epali saying.
"'7li here i no doubt \ hats vcr thai the problems related to the
~ various ethnic nd lepre sed astc gr up in ' cpal onstiune the
inglcmo I scriou i: uc of th day Ia ing the 'cpal ' . ocieiy after
the pe plc' movement 01" 1990 Pe pic here have ever 'in e been
asking: \ III Tepa! face ethni pr blem. as acute as in Sri Lanka or
Yugoslavia? Can the pr c iss f national imcgration in epal be really
equated with the idea of a ' rnclune pot' as i often d nc? Is J 'cpa! a
' garden of all astes and ethni group: ' in the real ense? And. houId
the monopoly of the dominant Hindu hill ca tc group end?
Anicles have. no doubt appeared to address th se queri ,2 But
rna t of them have somch \ Ignored the policy impli arion of u h
ethnoregional problems in the c ntcxt f national integration. Th i
article intend I h w that there w . n rational ethnic policy in
Iepal in the pa t nor is th .rc any al the pre sent. It also ugge ts thai
the ethnic-paradigm hul l be treated a! a central element in
everything related 10 planning, p licics. and programi ng. Alleviation
of poverty also demands a .crious di .cussion of the variou
dimen ions of ethnic i 'sue', In that context. this article expects 10
generate a rational discussion f the implicatio n f ethnoregional
problems for the soc ial and national integration of Nepal.
For the purpose of this discussion. et hn ici t y has been defined
as u process of reciprocal. common identification (or ' peoplehood')
marked by (a) symbols or shared heritage, including language.
reli gion. and custo ms; (h) an awareness of similar histor ical
experience; and (c) a sense of in-group loyal ty or ' we feeling'
associated with a shared social position, similar values ~ U 1 d interests,
and often. but not inevitably, identification wi th a specific national
or igin, Soc ial intcgrut ion is a condition of achieving a relatively
cohesive and unctioning internction system in a ociety among
different people as a prcc ndition 10 national integration. Finally.
r
I K
K li Bluutac hall L ~ K ,V l'yllkl<ly"! Nationa! Intrrgratnm II' Nepa! It)
national integration is a progressive process of identifying
commonalities with respect to common goods hut maintaining and
promoting the distinct ethnic identity of each group through social
integration within the framework of the current international political
boundarrcx. To acJlleve national Integration, all the ethnic groups
must have shared values in which the cultural aspirations of each
group arc also reflected. However, in order to protect di versity within a
framework 0[" these shared values. at least three measures need to be
taken. (a) ending all kinds of negative discrimination and promoting
posit.ive discrimination to overcome the historical disparities that may
subsist between the various groups: (h) promoting equal
opportunities; and (c) making education practically accessible to all.
. This article is divided into seven sections; (I) Nepal: a Country
ol Diversity: (2) A Brief Review of the State's Position on Ethnic
Issues: 0) Decentering thc Concept of National Integration; (4)
Increasing Significance of Ethnic Identity; (5) Hotspots of Ethnic
Conn icts: (6) Issues at Stake: and (7) Ethnic Rcconscicntizauon.
NEPAL: A COUNTRY OF DIVERSITY
Nepal is a country of diversity in terms of race/caste and ethnicity,
language, religion, rcgionJccology, society, and culture. All these
diversities revolve around the center of cthnicity that calls till' a multi-
paradigm approach in its developmental plans, strategies, pol icicx, and
programs. .
Racial Diversity
Nepal's racial composition is derived mainly from two major groups,
Mongoloid and Caucasian.' Whereas (he Mongoloid people. manv of
whom arc indigenous peoples, are relatively isolated geographically
and more close to the Tibetans. the Caucasians arc close to the people
ol the Indo-Gangetic plain. particularly Bihar and Uttar Pradesh of
India." This makes these two groups culturally distinct from each
other. 'TIle other two groups arc Dravidian tJhangod/ishangad and
Proto-Australoid or Pre-Dravidian (Sutar/Sall/!lal) in origin.
During the last two centuries, the hill Chhctris, particularly
Thakuns, ruled the country and other hill Chhctris <U1d Bahuns were
the most privileged caste groups in Nepal, which always remained
very close to the royalties with access to and control over most of the
available resources. As an exception. the Newars, one of the
Mongoloid groups shared those resources with hill Bahuns and
Chhcrris mainly because they have been for a long time the dominant
urhan-oriented ethnic group in the Kathmandu Valley.
Linguistic Diversity
Ethnic identities and languages go hand in hand in Nepal where over
70 languages arc spoken.
111e National Language Policy Recommendation Commission
(NLPRC) has noted that there arc. on the one hand, multi-lingual
caste and ethnic groups, and on the other, diverse castes and ethnic
groups, which speak single or multiple languages.' The rulers have
taken advantage of such complicated Iinguistic situation to impose and
rationalize Nepali as the only official language in Nepal, Nepali
language is increasingly heing perceived hy vanous ethnic groups,
whose mother tongue is not Nepali language, ,LS imposed by the
rulers. However, quite a kw ethnic groups have now started to
rediscover their scripts and teach their languages to their children and
adults. The Nepal Sadvabana Party has gone so far as even to demand
official recognition of Hindi a, the official language in thc Tarai
region, although it IS the vernacular language 01" nol one minority
even there.
Nepali language has been imposed by the hitl Bahun-Chhctri
rulers as the official language of Nepal and the 'democratic'
constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal-1990 declares Nepali as the
Rashuu-Bhasha ("national-language') and other native languages as
Rashtriva-Bhashaharu "languages of the nation'. Sanskrit has been
made a compulsory course of study for the high school students. Such
a policy is viewed by the ethnic groups as a strategy of dominant caste
groups to deprive their children of higher education. The Nepal
Janajati Ma!las(1llgh, which is a federation of 22 indigenous <U1d
marginalized ethnic groups. has demanded an equal status for all the
languages. including Nepali and withdrawal of the government's
decision on Sanskrit as well ~ L ) support for education in their
respective mother tongues.
Religious Diversity
People in Nepal follow different religions, namely, Animism, Bon,
Lamaism, Buddhism. Hinduism, Islam, arm Christianity, and there
may he mallY sects even within each of these religious systems.
Among them. Christianity is of recent development and Christians
have been blamed by the Hindus tor large-scale conversion of the
Hindus and Buddhists, which the Hindus argue. the Constitution docs
not allow," Actually the Constitution of 1990 explicitly declares
Nepal ,Ls a H1I1du kingdom although people remain divided on this
point and the issue of secularism has sharpened the debate recently.
The Constitution, however, allows everyone to practice the traditional
the
one
the
religion of one's own family. TIle Trident, the Thunderbolt,
Crescent, and the Cross arc all thus seen here in conflict with
another. even if the Trident remains a dominant force due to
constitutional and legal protection given bv the state.'
Regional Diversity
Ethnogeographicaliy speaking, regional variations exist due to the
land's extreme ecological diversity. The country is divided into three
mam ccologica] regions, jive development regions, and 12 ethnic
regional clusters.
. The. three ecological regions arc: (i) the Mountain, (ii) the
Hills, ?nd ~ l J J ) the Tarai. The nature and cultures of these three regions
vary significantly. Politically, the hill peoples have been dominant in
the Mountain as well as the Tarai, Therefore, there is a direct conflict
between the hill and the Tarai peoples."
]11e five development regions demarcated durin" the course of
the Panchayat rule arc: (i) Eastern Development Region. (ii) Central
Development Region, (iii) Western Development Region, (iv) Mid-
Western Development Region, and (v) Far-Western Development
Region. Among them, the Central Region is the most affluent the
Eastern Region is relatively better ofL the Western and the Mid-
Western regions arc somewhat behind the Central and Eastern
Regions, and the Far-Western Region remains the most neglected area
where the Chhctris, Magars, and Tharus arc heavily concentrated with
the third group suffering most.
Unti I 1768 there were 12 ethnic regional clusters: (i) A wadhi
Iii). Bhojpuri, (iii) Iadan; t iv} Khambuan, (v) Khasan, (vi) Knchilu:
(:)tt) LIIJlbuafl,. (viii) Magarat, (ix) Maithil, (x) Nepal, (xi) Tambu
Sall/lg, end (xii) Tamuan. King Prithvi Narayan Shah of Gorkha
conquered the cny states of Kathmandu Valley, and absorbed all the
p ~ t l y states in his process of 'unification.' This led to the emergence
ol a centralized government under a single sovereign called
Maharujadhiraj ('the Bmpcror). However, the ethnic-based pol itical
parties which have emerged recently, Jill' example, the Nepal Janajati
Party and the Nepal lana Pam', have demanded federalism b,bed' on
those ancient traditional ethnic regional clusters."
Society and Culture
The di versitics descrihed above have helped Ncpal (0 develop a plural
society and culture. Dahal, who identifies more than 100 distinct
ethnic/caste dusters, aggregates them into five broad groups; (a)
Hindus WIth caste origins; (b) Ncwars: (c) ethnic/tribal groups; (d)
Muslims: and (c) others {Sikhs, Bengalis, Marwaris, and Christians). III
A more logical grouping, however, would be: (J ) high caste Hindus of
the Hills; (2) high caste Hindus of the Tarai; (3) low caste Hindus of
the Hills and the Tarai; (4) indigenous and marginalized ethnic groups;
(5) Muslims; (6) Sikhs, Bengalis, and Marwaris; and (7) Nepali
citizens of European origin." The rites-de-passage and religious
practices, norms and values, kinship features, and culture patterns of
these groups differ, often significantly. Such differences make Nepal a
small world in itscl f. But while many take It as a matter of strength,
the privileged groups consider It a source of weakness and future
problems.
Such diversities demand plural istic approaches till' uplifting the
standard of people's life here. 11,e official ban on household
production of liquor and cow slaughter hurts the sentiments of many
people." Similarly, the imposition of Sanskrit language at the high
school level by the state and the absence of a policy on vernacular
language as a medium of teaching deprives them of equal educational
opportunities. What works for one group, moreover, may not work
for another. An income generating program of pig raising, for
instance, would not succeed amongst the devout Bahuns and Muslims,
just as the agents of development programs, who can speak only in
Nepali may not succeed in non-Nepal! speaking communities.
Bhatlachan writes:
Ncpulx status of underdevelopment has remained rhe same for several
decades as one of the las! 12 poorest countries in the world. a fact which
itself indicates thc failure of the past development paradigms to change rhe
quality of life of the poor Nepalese peoples. One of the crucial reasons for
such stagnation is the ignoring of cthno-dcvclopmcnt in all development
plans. programmes, policies, and strategies. Unless the current and future
development plans and programmes are geared towards ethno-ccntercd
development. stagnation will continue for a long time. I)
As castc/ethnicity is at the center of Nepalese social structurc.,
the ethnic paradigm should get a central focus in all plans, both in the
perspective as well as five year plans.
STATE'S POSITION ON ETHNIC ISSUES
According to the Constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal - 1990,
Nepal is a Hindu kingdom. The constitution recognizes Nepal as a
multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, democratic, independent, indivisible, and
sovereign nation.
' 4
The description of Nepal as a single nation-state is
self-contradictory in nature as it at the same also recognizes the plural
nature of ethnic groups and cultures. Nepal is also a multi-religious
state and religion, like racial origin, language, and nationality, is one
of the important attributes of ethnicity.
Though the constitution providex an individual the right to
adhere to and practice one's own religion (thus recognizing the
existing multiple religions in Nepal even if at the same time it also
underlines the dominance of the Hindu caste groups by labeling the
country a Hindu kingdom), it prohibits conversion into another
rcliaion."
~ 111e state appears to accept the rcsponsibi Iity of establishing
coordination among ditferent ethnic groups with different racial
Origins, castes, religions, and languages by eliminating all kinds of
economic and social inequalities. 1(, Though the constitution of Nepal
thus docs not overlook the fact of economic and social inequalities
among the various ethnic groups, the pol icics and programs of His
Majesty's Government of Nepal (HMG-N) til not reflect a sincere
effort to deal with these inequalities with appropriate i ustice as
stipulated under the Constitution.
Until 1990 HMG-N did not even collect census data rcgarding
ethnic affiliation and it was only in the 1991 census that ethnic
information appeared. However. the caste and ethnic groups identified
in the 1991 census report have not been free from the criticism of
various ethnic groups for being too biased in favor of the hill Bahun-
Chhetris and Hindus. Census data have as a consequence invited
attributes such as niithvanka ('false data' )..
During the Panchayat period, no development programs were
implemented for raising the quality of life of the underprivi legcd
ethnic and depressed caste groups. barring the half-heartedly
implemented Praja Bikash Karvakram CChepang Development
Program'). Even alter 1990, the interim government and the Nepali
Cor;gress governlllent formed alter the general election Ill' 1991 did not
care to consider the ethnic reality in formulating government plans,
policies, strategies, and programs. It was only in the annual prugrarn
of the Nepal Communis! Party (United Marxist and Leninist)
government In 1995, that HMG-N allotted some nominal hudget for
the upliltmcnt of the underprivileged and native ethnic groups. Ie But
these programs could not address the major issue of ethnic
exploitation nor could they put the underprivileged ethnic groups on
an equal footing with other privileged groups.
The present coalition government of the Nepali Congress
Party, the National Democratic party, and the Nepal Sadvabana Party,
too, has a program for the development of-Chepangs and other ethnic
groups, such as Rautc, Musahar, Jhangar, Dorn, Dusadh, Satar, and
Dhirnal. There is also a program for the upliftment of the native
ethnic groups. The objective of these programs for the 1995/96 fiscal
year is limited to the study of the socio-economic conditions of these
K fl. Blwrr"cllilll & K N. ['\ukllF\'1I1 NuI""''' I III {ngl(J(101J IJJ Nepu!
ethnic groups and til the establishment later of a foundation for the
promotion and development of their culture]' Recently, a task force
formed by Hi\'IG!N has submitted its report about the establishment of
a foundation for upliftment of the nationalities.")
Such programs, as they are, make the native ethnic groups
merely a subject to be studied. The state docs not seem to show any
sincerity in recognizing the continuing unequal distribution of rewards
<mel privileges: nor docs it demonstrate any serious change in ethnic
policy which would show a certain modicum of progress. The Prime
Minister recently touched upon the idea of establishing a foundation in
the near future in the course of his address in a national convention of
the Gurungs. But mere setting up of a foundation or even creation of a
ministry of ethnic groups would hardly help to materialize social
justice in Nepal, In the place of such ceremonial harangues, the
ethnic-paradigm should be internalized at all levels of public policies
and by all public actors, including the political leaders, bureaucrats,
and social workers,
DECENTERING 'NATIONAL INTEGRATION'
In Nepal the concept of national integration had a single meaning
until 1990. Till then. the hill Hindu rulers interpreted the concept in
terms of Hinduization, Sanskritization, and Ncpalization. Their source
of such inspiration was King Pr ithvi Narayan Shah's saying: Nepal
char jar chhattis vurnako phuihari lto ("Nepal 1S a garden of four castes
and thirty-six varnas")." The 'assimilation theory' of national
integration, practiced elsewhere, was advocated in Nepal by hoth the
Western and Nepalese scholars and the development practitioners, too,
had been intl uential in reinforcing such a monolithic notion of
national integration. But now the dccentcring 0[' such a monolithic
notion of national integration has, somehow, hegun. In the changing
context, the traditional notion "should be interpreted as the king's idea
of internal autonomy to bind the different ethnic groups into a single
territorial nation-state, or into a multi-ethnic nation-state.,,21 Another
scholar notes: " ... the old model of integration is no longer acceptable
to the different ethnic groups, Ethnic nationalism is taking deeper and
deeper roots."n
Poudyal is of the opinion that" ... the process of national
integration is to bring together the culturally disparate parts into a
closer approximation of one nation. In the process of national
integration, however, the ethnic groups should be given a chance to
maintain their 'minimum value-consensus' in society.?" Poudyal's
conception of national integration is problematic for ethnic groups
24 Occasional Papers
K. B. Bhattachan & K. N Pvakurval : National lntergration ill Nepal 25
because these groups, if his prescription is to be followed, will get a
chance to maintain 'minimum value-consensus' and the rest might
still be imposed by the ruling Hindu Hill Bahuns and Chhetris.
In a marked contrast, Gurung argues: "National integration is a
political idea and an ideal. It implies a national state where citizens
have full right without any form of segregation.r'" But if the concept
of national integration is a political concept, then it should not be the
monopoly of the ruling Hill Hindu Bahuns and Chhetris to define it
according to their convenience to protect their vested interests, that is,
the interest to control political, economic, cultural, and other
resources of Nepal. Recently, however, alternative thinking about the
concept of national integration is emerging.
Fisher, in his interpretation of Mahakabi Laxmi Prasad
Devkota's poems, says: "If national unity depends on the acceptance
of a framework in which multiple cultures or flowers are allowed to
compete without one dominating the whole system or garden, then it
may require the resurrection and embracing of indigenous 'sprouts' .,,25
Leaders ofall political parties are divided within their parties on
ethnic issues. Some strongly favor, others strongly oppose the ethnic
paradigm. Unlike the dominant political parties, however, Nepal
Sadvabana Party has taken up the goal of safeguarding the
ethnoregional concerns of Madhesiyas ,as a prime issue.
INCREASING SIGNIFICANCE OF ETHNIC IDENTITY
Many Nepalese wonder why there is an increasing significance of
ethnic identity in an open society and why ethnicity did not matter
much before 1990. The best answer to these curiosities was given by
Cohen who said: "Ethnicity has no existence apart from inter-ethnic
relations. ,,2"
Historically, before the so-called 'unification' of Nepal or the
'Gurkha expansionism' there were many independent small states,
including 22 and 24 principalities which lived in isolation. Most of
the diverse cultural, linguistic, religious groups, and their social
institutions and identities evolved during those times. In Lig Lit; in
Gorkha, during those old bygone days, the person who won the race
was selected as the king. Later, the high caste Hindu rulers imposed
'Gorkhanization,' Hinduization, Sanskritization, and Nepalization by
imposing first coercive legal and then, more recently, constitutional
measures." The rulers, following the East India Company's strategy
of 'Divide and Rule,' divided the indigenous ethnic groups into several
factions. For example, Gurungs were divided into four castes and
sixteen sub-castes, and the Dus (Ten) Limbus were divided into
hundreds of Subbas.
2X
It, therefore, appears that the rulers themselves
were against social integration in Nepal. Until the fifties of this
century, most Nepalese peoples also lived in isolation due to a lack of
modern transportation and communication facilities and because of the
state policies,
But during the last five decades, Nepalese people have
increasingly been coming in close contact as a result of the revolution
in transport and communication facilities in the country. With the re-
introduction of the multi-party political system in 1990, various
ethnic and caste groups are 're-discovering' and asserting their ethnic
and caste identity. One reason was the gradual increase in the number
of educated people among the various ethnic and underprivileged caste
groups, especially after the 1950 revolution. Three other factors,
namely, (a) extreme inequality in the distribution of resources, (b)
homo-social reproduction of the 'power elite,' and (c) state-protected
dominant-subordinate ethnic group relations over these resources, have
prompted various ethnic and underprivileged caste groups not only to
rediscover and reconstruct their ethnic identity but also to assert it very
strongly. In response to such challenges, the hill Bahuns, Chhetris,
and Thakuris have begun to undergo a certain self-transformation
through ethnicization. According to Sharma:
An interesting current trend is that the Hindu caste groups are also beainninz
to get 'conununalised, that is, gaining an ethnic identity all their own. Earlie;'
the Bahuns - the Brahmans of the Nepali hills - had formed part of the ruling
class. Hence they had little reason to develop a communal psychology as did
the under-privileged, discriminated groups .... The Thakuri and Chhetri castes
at the hills, too, arc beginning to show a tendency to look upon themselves as
distinct cultural groups with separate roots and origin. The untouchable castes
of the pre-1963 Muluki Aill, actually, have even more justification - as an
exploited and still-exploited class - to forge a new identity of their own. The
trend, thus, IS that even the so-called culturally homogenous groups are
beglllmn¥ to seek to build their new political and economic security under the
spell of ethnicisation.' The process of cultural atomisation seems to have
begun.
2
()
Ahout such trends, as pointed out by Sharma, Bhattachan has
this to say:
Sharma has noted a recent process of communalization of the Hindu caste
groups, t;specially as seen in the birth of 'Bahun ethnicity' and 'Chhetri
ethnicity Thus It indicates that the Bahun-Chhetris monopoly over power
has already. begun to erode to a point of threat that needs to be defended by
them IInp!ymg that sharing or losing power is unacceptable. One wonders how
Bahuns-Chhetris would have responded Ir they were suppressed and
oppressed like low caste and non-caste ethnic groups fill' two centuries? How
might have the v reacted i( the next two centuries they have to live like low
caste and non-caste ethnic groups or the IWf two centuries ,HI (emphasis
~ d ~ ) .
20 Occasional Papers
T
K B. Blw1fl/cllllll & K N Pvakurva! : NaII llnil I III tergrution In Nepal 27
HOTSPOTS OF ETHNIC CONFLICTS
Viewed In a larger perspective, many social scientists, political
leaders, and ethnic activists have lately begun to realize that Nepal
harbors potentials for ethnic violence and communal riots. am there
may be many such hotspots. Those hotspots, however, differ sharply
In the perspectives entertained by the various actor groups in the
national scene - dominant caste/regional groups, depressed castes,
ethnic, and regional groups.
In Nepal there are several hotspots of ethnic violence at the
international level:
The Indian news media often claim that some of the
towns in Nepal Tarai, particularly Rautahat, Kalaiya,
and Nepalgunj, are hotspots of Hindu-Muslim conflicts
and also that Pakistan uses these areas as centers of
underground subversive activities against India. On the
other hand, Nepalese press often reports that the RAW
(Research and Analysis Wing), Rastriva Swuvamsevak
Sangh, and Siva Sena, all of India, arc fanning
communal tension in various parts of Nepal. Nepalese
people living and working in various parts of India and
Indian people living and working in various parts of
Nepal also provide grounds for sensitive ethnic Issues in
the two countries. .
Mustang area has been very much in the news recently
through the national and international press. The
Nepalese press recently reported on the seizure by Nepal
army of a sizable amount or arms from the walled
township of Mustang. The photo exhibition of the
walled city in Lalitpur at the end of 1995 was actually
related to the Free Tibet Movement in Nepal.
Nepal has given shelter to about 100,DOO Bhutanese
refugees in Eastern Nepal. The process of repatriation
has been very slow. Meanwhile, some conflicts between
the Bhutanese refugees am the local community have
also been reported.
A large number of people of Nepali origin live in
Sikkim, Assam, and Darjceling of India and in Bhutan.
Subhas Ghising of Darjeeling has been well known for
his Greater Nepal slogan." Early this year, his
scheduled visit to Kathmandu for a public address was
thwarted when His Majesty's Government expressed its
inability to provide adequate security for him
I
Besides these factors, some endogenous factors have also been
identified as potential threats to national integration by prominent
social scientists:
In Eastern Nepal, in what is known a, Kirant Pradesh,
Lionel Caplan has researched on Hindu-Tribal (hill
Bahuns versus indigenous Limbus) conflicts, said to
have occurred due to a take-over of the Lirnbu Kipat
land (communal land) by the Bahuns
3 2
Although during
the Jast three decades no serious violence has been
reported, tension is mounting up due to the ongoing
displacement of the indigenous people by the Hi 11
Bahuns. Bir Nembangs Limhuan Mukti Morcha
and Gopal Kharnbu's book Khamb uan k o A waj
(The Voice of Khamhu People) arc its
reflections.
It was Beenhakker who first disaggregated data about the
various key positions in politics. bureaucracy, police,
and military on an ethnic basis and noticed persisting
severe inequality between the hill Bahuns and Chhetris
and others." The hook hy Gaige (1975) focuses on the
discrimination against the Madhesiyas (the people of
Tarai) by the Pahadiyas (the hill people), cited later by
Blaikie, Cameron, and Seddon." Finally, political
groups like the Sadvabana Parishad (later party) and
social groups like the Nepal Janajati Mahasangh picked
up their ideas and hrought it up at the national political
stage. The ethnic conflicts thus exist at two levels:
One, Bahun-Chhctris, whose total combined
population, according to the census of 1991, is 29
percent of the total population of Nepal. but control
about 70 to 9() percent of the total key political,
bureaucratic, military, and police positions.i" The
remaining 71 percent of the total population have been
deprived of these positions for the last two centuries.
Therefore. majority of the ethnic and low caste groups
are in direct conflict with hill Bahun-Chhctris. Two, the
population of Tarai is a little more than those of the
hills and mountains put together, but all those
positions arc controlled by Pahadivas (hill people).
Madhesivas (the people of Tarai) have been deprived of
their share in those positions. Therefore, the people of
the Hills and Tarai people arc in direct conflict with
each other.
2X Occasional Papers K. B. BlliIllUcllll1l & K. ,v. I'yllkllrm/ ,"luI/owl! Iflfl'l'grallllll in Nepal 29
Traditionally, the high caste Hindu Bahuns, Chhctris,
and Thakuris In the hills aOO the Brahmans,
Kshyatriyas, and Vaishyas in the Tarai have been
exploiting the untouchables (low caste groups).
Therefore, the Dalits (depressed caste groups) arc in
direct conflict with the high caste Hindus.
In terms of faith, Hindus are in direct conflict with
Muslims.
Hill residents of the Far Western Region in Nepal had
almost empathized with their neighbors in India during
the Uttarakhand Movement last year, possibly because
they hear an intense feeling of deprivation themselves
versus the south and the center." Such a situation itself
might prove an explosive issue in the future.
These ethnic hotspots can be managed and mediated only by
ethnic approaches in policies, plans. and programs at various levels.
ISSUES AT STAKE
There are many issues at stake that need immediate attention from the
policy makers. They are:
Right to Self-Determination: There is a demand for the
right to self-determination by the indigenous peoples of Nepal.
influenced by either the leftist views or by the IlO and the
Human Rights Commission of the United Nations. Others,
argue that since nations do not exist in Nepal, the right to self-
determination is not applicable here." Still others insist that
the voters use such right when they cast their ballots 011 the
election day. Those who stand for right to self-determination,
moreover, propose that the state should give this right to all
ethnic groups, but quite a few also advocate cession if the state
continues to suppress their legitimate demands.
Federalism or Local Autonomy: Ethnic and region-based
political parties, such as Nepal Janajcti Party, Nepal Sadvabana
Party, Nepal Rastriya lana Mukti Morcha, and non-political
organizations, such as Nepal lanajati Mahasangh and its 22
affiliated ethnic organizations demand federalism or local
autonomy, but their demands differ at three levels." Nepal
Janajati Party demands federalism based on the traditional 12
ethnic regional clusters but iLS opponents see it a... irrelevant
today due to the emergence of mixed communities in all those
clusters. Nepal Sadvahana Party calls for federalism based on
the dichotomy of the Hills and the Tarai. Nepal Rastriya Jana
Mukti Morcha advocates federalism based on administrative
,
,
considerations, not on ethnic or ecological regional grounds.
But all the ruling political parties of the past and present,
except Nepal Sadvabana Party, have rejected such demands and
go, instead, for 'decentralization,' which. in practice, has only
meant more and more 'centralization.'
Human Rights and Rights of Indigenous People:
Puhlic feelings ran high last yei.U· when a minister of a left
government announced that each ethnic group should he able to
practice the human rights guaranteed hy the Constitution.") The
Hindu fundamentalists took it as a license for 'cow slaughter'
and there was a nationwide uproar, even a call, for the first lime
in the history of Nepal, for a 'Nepal Bandh: (Nation-wide Close
Down) hy the Hindu fundamentalists. Nepal Janejati
Mahasangh and its affiliated ethnic organizations declared their
intention to counteract it. The bandh, which was called off at
the last moment. could have hrought a violent clash. because a
number of Iunajatis made public their decision to slaughter
cows if the state was to take sides with the Hindus. The
Constitution docs forbid the slaughter of cows, JS a national
animal. hut it also recognizes the religious rights of its
citizens. For many ethnic groups eating beef is not a taboo; it
is rather an established practice. The principle is thus in sharp
contrast with practice.
Demands for the rights of indigenous peoples arc
increasing under the patronage of the United Nations which
declared the International Decade for the World's Indigenous
Peoples in 1994. In Nepal. about 20 affiliated ethnic
organizations of Nepal Janajati Mahasangh have claimed
themselves to be the indigenous peoples of Nepal. But the
government and many BahunChhctri leaders either deny the
existence of such peoples or claim themselves to be as
indigenous as others. Recently, the HMG-N delegates to an UN
conference in Geneva to discuss the draft of the rights of the
indigenous peoples claimed that the UN's concept of
indigenous peoples is inapplicable to Nepal.-tl! Such policy
vacillations could easily aggravate the situation further.
Citizenship Certificate: Citizenship is another vexlllg
issue ,L" there nrc scores of people who have not yet received
their citizenship certificates without which they can not enjoy
legally provided rights and privileges. including the purchase
and sale of land.-11 111e situation has been more confusing due
to the open border between Nepal and India which leads to free
movement of people from hoth sides. The leaders of Nepal
311 O('uisioJlal Papers
K B. /JIW(Wc!WIl e{ K. N. PI"kUFW!: Nationul lntergration II! Nepo!
31
Sadvabana Party have called for facilitation of the process of
citizenship certification. But government efforts have been less
than serious. "I1lC real. crux of the issue is a cut-off date for
citizenship certificates. Further delay on the issue could set off
widespread communal violence.
Sanskrit Education and News Broadcast: His
Majesty's Government of Nepal has introduced compulsory
Sanskrit language curricul um at the high school level. and has
also started news broadcast in Sanskrit language alonv with a
few other 'national languages.': Ncwari, Rai,
Hindi, and Gurung. Nepal Janajati Mahasangh and some
factions within the political parties, including the Nepali
Congress Party, Nepal Communist Party (United Marxist and
Leninist), United People's Front. and Nepal Sadvabana Party,
have, however. strongly protested against such government
decisions. The reasons forwarded arc: (a) Sanskrit is a 'dead
language,' that is, it is not in day to day use by the people, and
it is useless to make it a compulsory course at the high school
level. and to broadcast news from the state-owned Radio Ne[JaL
(b) Compulsory Sanskrit education has been devised to reduce
the scope of higher education of the non-Bahun-Chhctris
because most Ianajati and non-Brahman Madhesiva students are
likely to fail in such courses and' drop out at the school level;
(c) These moves arc a part of the process of Hinduization ina
heterogenous Nepalese social system which puis the non-
Bahun-Chhetri people in disadvantage. Whereas the opponents
of Sanskrit argue that there arc dozens Dr 'national languages'
that should get priority in the news broadcast because a Iarze
number of people speak these languages, they also ask why a
deal language should he able to get such a high priority.
Rationalization of such state recognition is perceived to he
based on emotion rather than rationality.
ETHNIC RECONSCIENTIZAnON
Political change in South Asia today is at a crucial historical juncture.
This is true elsewhere, too: for example. III the former USSR and
Yugoslavia. The emerging ethnic conflicts and the economic reforms
proposed hy the multi-national organizations have raised WIdespread
concerns because the cxistinj; order has tended to sustain the existine
.
socro-cconormc inequalities, which could thus spawn far reaching
negative effects on the process of social and national integration.
Although ethnic conflicts and their resolution have now occupied the
center of the democratic agenda in a number of South Asian countries,
of
the failure of the process of social integration has led to separatist
movcments in Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, and Bhutan.
In all multi-ethnic societies, the lack of reforms has now ai:hl
another new dimension: thc problem is how to reform the state in a
situation where political power is shared among different ethnic
communities. Legalization of ethnopolitics in such a context becomes
crucial I'or cthnodevelopment.
42
The various facets of Nepalese policy
making - political, economic. social, cultural. religious, and
ideological - should reflect its diverse composition and the dominant
national political parties should take a leading role to ensure sufficient
socio-economic, cultural. and political participation of the ethnic
groups and to eradicate negative discrimination and reinforce positive
discrimination instead.
Improved transportation and communication networks in Nepal
have helped the diverse, isolated ethnic groups to come close together
than ever before. But in that process they have also started to perceive
and fccI more clearly and more closely the stark discrepancies and
glaring disparities that exist in the arena of SOCIal justice
various ethnic groups. These perceptions have become mag1l1hed
because while the traditional. feudal relationships have survived,
despite recent political changes, the modes of perception have changed.
Some ethnic groups have retained their dominance in the socio-
economic and political power structure, while others continue to suffer
exploitation and denial of rights. ThIS necessitates a new set of social
relations based on equality and social justice which means a new
process of ethnic reconsc icntiznuun must cvul vc.
CONCLUSION
Nepal has been a country of extreme diversity in terms of cthnicity,
language, religion, ecology, and economy. It will remain so in the
future. When Nepalese people living within a defined political
houndary begin to sec their common destiny in living together
retaining all their di vcrsitics, then only their transformation into a real
nation-state could he said to have begun.
The sentiments of the various ethnic groups may he interpreted
as ephemeral political gimmicks hut the recorded history of the past
200 years of Chhetri-Bahun domination in the political, social, and
cultural life of the Nepalese people is not. So far, such sentiments
have been viewed hy the dominant group ilS nothing more except
psychological upsurges against deprivation, hut if these grievances
take the form of political movement, the shape of present-day Nepal
may not long remain the same in the future. The aim of social and
national 1Illegration IS not elimination of differences between the
Orcasionul Papers
K. H. Bhnitachan & K. N. Pvakurvul : Ncuional Iruergration in Nepal 33
different ethnic groups but to recognize and respect such differences
and make conditions conducive for the communities to live together in
a more productive way within an established national boundary. For
such harmony to attain, widening disparities - political, economic,
and social - need to be reduced.
For protecting diversity within a framework of shared values,
the government should ensure participation of different groups of
people. The state should design plans, policies, and programs to
minimize and eliminate all kinds of state-promoted and -protected
discrimination and ensure the socio-cultural, economic, political, and
human rights of all ethnic groups on equal terms fostering the process
of social integration. This alone can ultimately lead to national
integration. TIle people who are in the high seats of power should
seriously take up the ethnic approach as a critical measure for
solution. For, if status quo continues, the Nepalese people will have
to pay dearly at the cost of the nation's peace and prosperity.
According to Wallerstein:
There are four principal ways in which ethnicity serves to aid national
integration. First, ethnic groups tend to assume some of the functions of the
extended family and hence they diminish the importance of kinship roles;
two, ethnic groups serve as a mechanism of resocialization; three, ethnic
groups help keep the class structure fluid, and so prevent the emergence of
castes; fourth, ethnic groups serve as an.outlet for political tcnsions' J
In brief, if Nepal intends to prepare itself for the twenty-first
century as a prosperous and peaceful society, all plans, policies, and
programs should place the ethnic paradigm at the center of these
activities. The time bomb of ethnic violence is already ticking and no
one knows when it will detonate. But there is still time to correct the
present course and prevent disaster.
NOTES
I. This article is a revised version of a paper presented at a seminar on
Ethnicity and Nation-Building organized jointly by the Central Department of
Sociology and Anthropology and The South Asia Institute of the University of
Heidelberg in Kathmandu, Nepal, on December 22-23. 1995. The authors
thank Prof. G. S. Nepali (Tribhuvan University) for his thoughtful comments.
2. For an analysis of the issues related to national integration and disintegration
after the people's movement of 1990, see Bhattachan (1994); Fisher (1993);
Jha (1993); Koirala (1995); Nepali (1995); Poudyal (1992); Shah (1992); and
Sharma (1992). For a detailed analysis of such issues during the partyless
Panchayat period, see Gaige (1975); Gurung (1989); Manandhar and Amatya
(1989); and Sharma (1986) For discussion about ethnicity, see O'Neill
(1994); and Pyakuryal (1982).
3. The Tibeto-Burman language speaking ethnic groups are generally called
Theprhes; and the Indo-Aryan language speaking groups are termed
Chuchches.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
II.
12.
13.
14.
15.
16.
17.
18.
19.
20.
21.
22.
23.
24.
25.
26.
27.
28.
29.
30.
31.
32.
33
34.
35.
36
37.
38.
39.
A Task Force on the Foundation for Upliftment of the Nationalities identified
61 nationalities in Nepal (see HMG-N 1996).
See NLPRC (1993: 10-11). For detail about language issues, see NJM (1993);
and Toba (1992).
See Shah (1993) for details about Christianity in Nepal.
See Sharma (1994) for issues related to Islam religion in Nepal.
See Dahal (1992); Gaige (1975); and Jha (1993) for details on such conflict.
The Nepal Junajati Party was not recognized by the National Election
Commission of His Majesty's Government on communal ground.
See Oahal (1994).
Indigenous peoples include the Newars.
If cow slaughter hurts the sentiments of the Hindus, then a practical
alternative would be to replace cow as a sacred national animal by another
animal which would not hurt the sentiments of all religious groupsin Nepal.
Sec Bhattachan (1994: 143).
See HMG-N (1990:9). For details about the ethnic issues raised during the
making of the constitution, see Bhattachan (l993a).
See HMG-N (1990:9).
See HMG-N (1990:11).
See NPC/HMG-N (1995 a; and 1995b).
See NPC/HMG-N (I 995c).
Krishna B. Bhattachan, one of the authors of this article, served as a member
of this task force.
Different scholars translate this saying in different ways, due possibly to an
error (or a mistake') in the choice of terms, particularly Jut and Varna.
According to the Hindu Varna model developed in Manusmriti, there are four
Varnas, viz., Brahman, Kshyatriya, Vaishya. and Shudra, and there are many
castes within each of these four categories. Prithvi Narayan Shah, instead,
chose to specify the situation in terms of four castes and thirty-six Varnas.
The Tibeto-Burrnan language speaking ethnic groups do not perceive them as
falling under any of these Varnas and caste groups because these are
applicable to Hindus only. Some Nepalese historians say informally that the
Dibya Upadesh was, in fact, not written by the king but by some officials of
the Gurkha palace.
See Bharrachan (1994: 138).
See Nepali (1995).
See Poudyal (1992:134).
See Gurung (1989: 133).
See Fisher (1993: 14).
See Cohen (1978:389).
For a discussion on the concept of Gorkhanization, see Manandhar and
Amatya (1989).
Subba is a title given by the rulers to the local administrative authorities. Such
titles were given to many other ethnic groups, including the Thakalis and the
Gurungs in the western part of Nepal.
See Sharma (1992:8). Also, for Khas ethnicity, see Bista (1995).
Sce Bhattachan (1994: 135).
See Dixit (1993); and Rose (1994).
See Caplan (1970).
See Beenhakkcr (1973).
See Blaikie, Cameron, and Seddon (1980).
For detailed data, see Beenhakker (1973); Dahal (1993); Gaige (1975); J.B.R
(1973); and Jha (1993).
For details on the movement, see Aryal (1994).
See Bhattachan (1995); Magar (n.d.); and Thapa (1994) for detailed analysis
of right to self-determination.
Ibid., for analysis in detail of federalism and local autonomy.
See Bhattachan (l993b); Dahal (1993); NACIIDWIP-N (1994); and
TNCIYIWIP-N (1993)
34 Occasional Papers
K. B. Bhattachan & K. N. Pyakuryal: National Intergration in Nepal 35
40.
41.
42.
43.
Personal communication with the officials of the Nepal Janajati Mahasangh.
See Gaige (1975); and Jha (1993).
See Bhattachan (1995).
See Wallerstein (1971: 673).
Cohen, Ronald
1978 "Ethnicity: Problem and Focus in Anthropology,"
Review of Anthropology.
Annual
Blaikie, Piers; J. Cameron; & D. Seddon
1980 Nepal in Crisis: Growth and Stagnation at the Periphery.
Delhi: Oxford University Press.
REFERENCES
Aryal, Manisha
1994
Beenhakker, A.
1973
Bhattachan, Krishna B.
1993 a
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Occas ional Papers
hanna, udhindn;
1994
" Hu w the Crescent Fares in Nep al : ' pp. 5 O. Himal;
Volume 7, , ' umber 6, November/ Dec ember If) 4
Sure h Dhakal
i I ~ nc imp rtant i infi rmal ultural in nitution that regulates all the
W' fun cti n , fc us, aOO fe ti al f th Iagars f w t ' epa! i
Bheja tha t affcc aim t every sphere of their day-to-daj life.
Although there e. ists a signific ant cthn graphic literature on the
Magars otherwi e. it hID' nev 'r been highlighted 0 far. Thrs article
intends to ntribut e : liul in lhat dire .ti n.
Put briefl y, Bh:la, which rdinatc various ritual of the
Magar Community, h lp t establish and maintain the ornmunity
ith a crtain y tern of produ ti n and enabl it lO intern t
harmoni u I with nature. Ritual , like the whole ulture of whi h
the form a part. have lh ir c onomic aspects as well the ecological
ones and thi ritual may he considered a typical way of the Iagar way
of adapting to their cnvir nmcnt .
Thi analy i and imerpreuuion of Bheja i primaril guided
by the fa tors delineated by Rappaport" propo ilion in his recognized
work Ritual Regulation of Environmental Relations among a / ell'
Guinea People. H proposes that rna t of the functional tudies of
religious behaviors in aruhropol ogy have as an analytical goal the
elucidation of events, proce 'se ', or relationships occurring within a
' social unit' of some s rt. This ' social unit' i. not alway well
defined, but in some CID'CS it appear to be ..... a congregation, a group
of people who participate together in the performance of rel igious
ritual s".
As Rappaport believed and quoted, the following statement by
Hornans ( 1941: 172) repre. cnts fairly the dominant line of
anthropol ogical thought concerning the functions of religiou s ritua l.
According to him, ' ritual actio ns' do not produce a practical result on
the extern al world - thaI is one reason for calling them ritual. But 10
make this statement is ' not to say that ritual has no function'. Its
function is 11 01 related 10 the world external 10 the society but to the
'internal constituti n of the ociety'. It gives the rnernber of the
society confidence; it also dispels their anxietie ; it di ciplines their
oc ial orga nization.

wngull/:C Issues III Nepal Kathmandu: md:ut B
tationers
"Ethm Il} and arional Integrat ion in W 1 Inca," pp. 669·
676. Polin <Z1 D/!"elllpmenl and OCIal Change, e nl!
editi n. edi ted y Jason L Fin le d RI hard I Gable
'c Y ric John It' i1e) Sons.
NeJ'I/IIIW Janajati Samsyaku Samadhan, Rast n v I Atma·
I 'imava "1 Sthaniva SwashtLrlulII [Scl uuon I the • hni
Problem m 'epal: Righi 10 Sd f. Dclcnninali. n or df. Rule :
pp, 9- 1-1. Ia naj ati A" y, j umber . . Akhil. • ep I ! najan
ammelan. Kendri ya Sangarhan :1111111 (lex1 III epali).
n I Cumrniuee for the International ear \ 1993):
rid' lndiccnous Peopl . epal (ll'iCl Y IP· , ')
- Coun/T) Paper nil Indigenous Peoples 0 epal prepared on
the occasion of U' orld lhe Con erence n lIum n
Rights III Vienna, ustria, June t -25
tcin, lrnmanuel \ ' all
19 I
Toba, uey hr
1992
Thapa, Pari
19
OC'C<IJIIJnll/ Papers
Sharma, udhindru
1994
" Ho w the Cre cent Fares in Nepal ." pp. 5-40. Himal;
Volume 7. Number 6. Novcmbcr/Dec'mbcr 1994
Suresh Dhakal
f I ~ ne imp rtant i infi rmal ultural in titution that regulates all the
W fun lion. feas , aOO fesu I f the Magars f we t epa) i
Bheja that affcc aim 1 ev ry sphere f their day-to-day life.
Allhough there e: i IS a signifi ant cthn graphi literature on the
Magars otherv i c. il hal n \ 'r been highlighted 0 far. Thi article
intends to ontri bute a lilli e in that direction:
Put briefl y, 811 ifa, which rdinatc various ritual of the
Magar Community, h lp t tabli sh and maintain the ornmunity
\ ith a certain y tern of produ ti n aOO enabl it to intern t
harmoni ou Iy \ ith nature. Ritual ', like the whole culture of whi h
they fonn a pan. have th ir economic aspects as well the ecol ogi .al
ones and thi ritual may he co nsidered a typi al way of the Magar way
of adapting to their envir nrnent .
This anal)' is and interpretation of 811 oja i primarily guided
by the fa to delineated by Rappap rt's propo ition in his recognized
work Ritual Regulation oj Environmental Relations among a J ell'
Guinea People. He propose: thai mo st of the functional tudies f
rel igious beh vie rs in anthropology have as an analytical goal the
elucidati on of events, processes, or relationships occ urri ng within a
' soc ial unit ' of some so rt. Th i 'social unit' i. not alway well
defined , but in some cases it appears 10 be ..... a co ngregatio n, a grou p
of peopl e who parti cipate toge ther in the performance of religi ous
ri tual s" .
As Rappaport beli eved and qu led, the following statement by
Hornans ( 194 1: (72) represents fairly the dominant line of
ant hro pol ogical though1 concerning the functi ons of religi ous rit ual.
According 10 him, ' ritual ac tions ' do 11 0t produce a pract ical result on
the external world - that is one reason for calling them rit ua l. But to
make this uat emcnt is ' not to say that ritual has no functi on '. Its
fun cti on is not related l the world external to the soci ety but to the
' interna l co n tituti on of the oc icty' . It gives the member of the
society confidence; it also dispe ls their anxietie ; it di ciplin es their
social orga nization,

Langue 'e Issues in Nepal. Kathmandu: amdan B
tarioners
"Ethmcity and N:uional Integration in I Inca," pp. 669-
676. Political Dewdi/pmi'nl and octal Chan e. econd
editi n. edited by Jas on L Fin ' lind Richard \ . Ga le.
ew Y rk; John Wile} Sons.
epalma Ianajati Samsyako Sumadhan: RCI tn v I A l m ~ .
I imava I Sthaniya Swashashan ( oluti n 10 the Erhni
Probl em in lepal: Right 10 Seli-Detcrminan on ?r • elf. Rule) :
pp. 9- 14. Ia naj ati AII'a}. umber . Akhl l . I epal ~ najau
ammelan, Kendriya Sangarhan anuu (It:X I 111 epali ).
lion I Co mmi uee for the lruernational Year \ 1993):
\ rid' Indigenous Peopl . 'epal ' CIY Ip· , ' )
Country Paper nn Indigenous People: 0 epal prepared n
lhe oc a-ion of U "s Wor ld tbe Confe rence n Il urna n
Rights in Vienna. Austria. Jun e 14-25.
Wall' rem, Immanuel
1971
Toba, uey hi
1992
Th pa, P ri
199
40
S /Jllilk"l:llhcliI "I' (j S l m I C ~ I C CI/I//II'<11 C"'"'I'lIli"" 41
Bheja is an organized body to gain some social goal even
though there is no vertical hierarchy to he achieved among the
members. Moreover, Its existence allows the social/cultural
anthropologists to explore and extract the facts about Bheja.
Since this article is about one specific cultural tradition of the
Magars, it will he relevant to highlight the Magars in brief. Magars
have been recognized as simple, polite, honest, brave, and sacrificial
in nature. As one of the most numerous indigenous groups of the
country, they hold a significant place It1 terms of population
compos iuon ..:: considered to he the indigenous people of thc IX/llUi
Magarat' (Iitcrally, the twelve regions of the Magarx). But. nowadays
they have become so widely scattered that they an: not new to any
other place or group within Nepal. The outside world, however. came
to know of Magars only after the British began recruiting soldiers in
Nepal for their Gurkha regiment. Wherever and whatever the condition
they may he in. they love to maintain their cultural identity. For
instance, if asked what makes them a distinct social group, the more
traditional/older among them arc probably likely to reply that it is the
possession of their own language. religion. folklore or custom. 111e
younger ones try to regard their group identity 1Il light of the
contribution made bv their forefathers in the process of national
integration." The Ml:gars are Mongoloid in appearance and speak a
Tibcto-Burrnan dialect. Their economy is subsistcntial, primarily
based on agriculture. which is practiced only for survival. A
considerable amount of grain they produce is spent in making joa.! and
raksi (locally brewed heel' and liquor). They lU'C very fond of jut and
raksi, and consider these an inseparable part of their life. Recruitment
in the British and Indian army has always remained a center of
attraction for most. if not all the, young Magars, and they arc well
recognized for their sacrificial spirit and bravery among the armies.
Employment in foreign army is much sought alter for both status and
financial reasons, even hy the relatively prosperous individuals of the
community.
'0,'h-atever controversy there may be about their position in the
Hindu caste ladder (or debate on their Hindu identity). they consider
themselves Hindus. Some also claim that they arc Buddhists (Bista:
Hirnal 5: 10). However, they arc divided into hundreds of sub-castes
(Sharma 049: 279; Baral 050: 28). But there is no hierarchical
stratification among them and all arc [reared equally (Baral 050: 30).
Politically, militarily, and socially, they occupied a high position in
the social scale in the past, hut now are suffering from a certain
inferiority complex. In this context, Bista is of the opinion that
Bahuns arc to be blamed for it (Bista: Himal 052: 10). Recently, some
of them who are working for upliftrncnt of the group claim that they
an: aim ing to gain their 'lost' status. 111<: Magars. who carry the
legacy of both thc rulers and subjects, have developed some of their
own specific cultures. which is heavily influenced hy their subsistence
pattern and exploitative technology or vice versa. Even today, one can
observe many such traditions that still exist. Bheja is one prominent
example of such specific tradition which helps to keep the community
intact and functioning.
ORGANIZAnON
Bheja is a colloquial term." which resembles Guthi of the Ncwars, III
its religious functions, and Dhikuri of the Thakalis in its economic
functions. However, there arc significant differences. too. While the
other two traditions have been studied and analyzed in detail. Blieia
remains a novel theme for study. No etymological meaning of Bheja
exists in the Magar and Nepali languages. It LS, therefore, a
painstaking task to trace out its origin and development." During the
study period in the field, no one was found who could spcci fically
trace its origin and historical course of development. They rather
tended to refer to times unknown on the origin of the community
itself. This ignorance do..:s not mean that it has a rudimentary
existence among them. They arc rather deeply attached to it. In fact. it
IS so deeply rooted in their lifestyles that it seems difficult for them to
confine it to a single dcfiniuon. Bheja is Bheja and may mean many
things. As a matter of fact, they can not even think of their life in its
absence, Thus, the tradition I swell established and accepted although
still sans a rigorous definition.
There may he more than one Bheja in n single community
cluster and a single Bheja may include more than one cluster. The size
of the Bheja may differ according to the size of the cluster and any
geographical and other forms of disparities. Each and every household
of the cluster is supposed to be a member. No specific quality or
criterion has to he fulfilled to become a member. hut exclusion leads
to social ostracrsm, a pariah status. A member may he suspended,
purged, or excluded if he docs not attend pooja.\· (worship) without a
serious reason and if he docs not agree to abide by its rules and
regulations.
Certain Bhejas may allow even the non-Magars to become
members, including the untouchable households of the same and a
neighboring cluster if the Magars are dominant and others are in
minority, but they have definitely more limited roles than the Magars
may have. Thus, invited members can neither be the Mukhiya (the
chairperson) nor a Pujari (the priest). Nevertheless, it is not like any
42 Occasional PaIN''-s S Dilllkil I"Hluj<l 1/.1' "Slrulcgli Cultur«! C(!!}lmr"'JI 4:1
ethnocentric institution or organization which raises voice for ethnic
sovereignty and caste purity. Generally, an aged and respected male
member of the community is the chairman. Called Mukhiva, he is
selected by a meeting of the members of the Bhe]« after the demise of
the previous one, and is no more than a titular figure. It seems a
formal role which docs not differ much from the role of other
members, However. he chairs the meetings and plays a key role in
making some concrete decisions. His presence and suggestions arc
expected in all meetings. Sometimes. he even orders members to carry
out some speci fie jobs. But. he docs not enjoy any particular right or
privilege. In the various poojas (worships) performed, a Pujari (priest)
is also needed, who is generally called Kuwara or Kumar (an unmarried
lad).
Around the last month of every year, there is a special Bheja
event - Susupak Bheja - which works ~ 1 , a general assembly of the
organization. No household would miss the occasion. This is the time
when the rules and regulations , U \ ~ made. corrected or revised; wages.
meat price. ard other important mailers nrc discussed and decided for
the year following; and the Mukhiva is selected. if necessary.
Therefore they call it riti-thiti basalne Bheja (norm-establishing
Bhejai. In some areas it is also known us Chandi Bheja. when village
mailers arc discussed at length. Abolition of old customs and practices
and adoption of new ones consutute its central tasks (Baral. OSO; 124).
FUNCTION
There arc no formal, specific rules regulating and binding the various
social functions that Bhl'ja serves. Yet one common rule is that any
decisions regarding religious activities (such ,1, annual poojasi and
social, agricultural celebrations (for instance, natlcv: an off day) arc
taken at the Bheja meetings. Primarily, it functions to maintain and
modify the cultural traditions. social order, and the system of
production in the changing context. These functions, however, can be
viewed from different perspectives some of which have been briefly
discussed below.
Religious Functions
Magar community is a self-perpetuating saturated community. They
regard themselves as Hindus and some claim that they arc Buddhists,
but their religious traditions and practices indicate they arc animists.'
They certainly 00 not worship idols of gods or goddesses such as
Vishnu. Krishna, Ram, Laxmi. or Kali. as other Hindus do. Rather
they worship their ancestors in one or other forms. Baje-Bajai Pooja,
Parange pooja, Beskang Bajaipooja, Manduli Baje-Bajai Pooja, Panch
Kaliya Mai Pooja, Ball Ihankri pooja arc forms of their ancestral
worship Every such pooja has a legend directly related to the history
of their forefathers. They believe that if they do not worship properly
and are unable to appease the ancestral sprits, disaster may follow.
Therefore they arc loyal to their ancestors and worship them with
devotion and piety. Such pooja: do not require temples and specific
shrines for deities. The place for the ceremony is fixed by the Bhe]a
itself. Generally, they choose a hill-top nearby, in the middle of the
forest where CUlling timber and livestock grazing is banned. Areas
around such places remain densely green. 'The system therefore has
acquired a certain 'convcrvauonist color", a belief system which is a
form of their ecological adaptation. Sacri ficcs of pigs. male buffaloes.
goats, ,uKI fowls arc necessary lor all such poojas except ill Panch
Kanva Ma! Poo]a where slaughtering of pigs is not permitted but live
different kinds of animals ,U1l[ fowls are slaughten,o. called P({I1C/Ui
Bali.
They also worship the sun. river, tree, snake. and earth as gods
and goddesscs. This appears ,LS their way to maintain a close
relationship with nature. Poojas of ancestors and nature take place
seasonally and. often. also annually. R/uja manages and makes ail the
arrangements for poojas which arc performed on some particular days
of the various seasons, Tl1 arrange pooja, a meeting is called to fix the
date arxl asxign roles and duties to members. For poo]« they do not
employ any outsider or high caste priest. Rather they select an
unmarried boy from their own community. Certain special functions.
such as prayers for sol iciting blessing, are. however, performed by
the Mukhiv«.
Agricultural Functions
Another signi ficant cultural practice of the community is Nutley. a
day when people do not work outside the house. specially on the farm,
ThIS system prevails in other communities. too. hut it is more
common among the Magurs. The day differs from place to place and
Irorn group to group. since It is fixed by Bheja. Often. Poornima, the
full moon day, IS observed as the day of Natley or it is Aunsi. the new
moon.day. In some areas they simply select Monday or Wednesday.
In the past. outsiders and strangers were prohibited to enter the
village and villagers to go outside on the day of Natlev. The defaulters
were penalized. On such a day Bheja (i.c., a man assigned by Bheja. in
most or the cases. the Mukhivai offers dhup (incense) to Bhumi (the
earth), called Main Dhare
The local people interpret Nalley in their own ways. It allows
people and their oxen rest after a long tiring agricultural work and
44 S. Dhilkal:Hhe)/l as /I Strategic Cultura! COl/veil/ion 45
gives them time to spend with their own family. Such regular
meetings make social interaction also possible.
Most of the agricultural works arc done by what goes hy the
name of Parima (reciprocal exchange of labor), and sometimes by a
temporarily formed labor group known as Bhaijeri (or Hom in certain
areas). Thus formed labor groups arc regulated by Bheja and are not
offered any wage except two meals and drinks (Baral 050: 58). Wage
labor is not considered a prestigious job and only the landless people
are invol vcd in it for their livelihood. Bheja fixes the date for work in
the field and all households get an opportunity to OJ their work
properly on time and according to their need. Bheja, of course, was not
started for such farm work. But it can now fix and even revise the
wage for labor. The Magars therefore (Xl not lace lahor crisis during
the peak farming seasons.
Economic Significance
Although Bheja does not operate any particular economic activity
directly, its direct influence can he seen in the various decisions that
directly or indirectly affect the economy of both the Magar village and
its individuals.
Bheja performs Important management functions by fixing the
price of sacrificial meat which is to he charged from the member
households. For example, if the price' of pork is 40 rupees per kg at
one Bheja and Rs. 50 per kg in the next one, and if the member of the
latter one wants to buy the pork form the former one. he pays Rs. 50,
not Rs. 40. In some cases, such meat is not sold to the outsiders or
those who arc not the members of thc body.
Since the area is densely populated by Magars and they need
such animals at the time of pooja. it sometimes becomes necessary to
procure animals from other communities. Some Bhejas have started
now rearing animals for sacrifice. For this purpose, a certain amount
of money is collected from every member household to huy piglets.
An indigent member household. which can not huy and rear its own
animal, is given the piglets for rearing. The sacrificial pork is
distributed among all the member households. TIle price of the pork
thus fixed is often considerably lower than the one prevailing in the
market. Half of such money goes to the household which reared the
pigs and, with the other hall', the piglets are bought for the future
pooja. Apart from the economy it hrings, the system also solves the
problem of scarcity of sacrificial animals.
Although every member household does not keep fowls and
goats, they need them at the time of pooja. They then prefer to buy
them from the members of the same Bheja. which encourages some of
them to rear such animals as a major source of income. Thus the
market is also ensured for sale of the livestock raised.
Now some of the Bhejas of the study area have started raising
levy from member households. The money collected is lent out to the
members with an interest, to be refunded when another member needs
that money for some serious occasion. such as death, serious illness.
or accident. Part of the money is used to buy household items such as
s.ccl plates, jars, jugs, kachauras, cups to drink j(Jod, and cooking
utensils, utilized at the time of feasts and other rituals. When not in
use, they are rented. Individual loans arc also offered to fellow-
members. In this way, Bheja is also taking on the form of a local self-
help hank.
Resource Management
Bheja is one appropriate way of community management of public
resource. In many rural areas, consumer groups have been formed for
resource utilization and management. But keen competition for scarce
resources has brought failure of such groups, even social conflicts.
The Magar community is an exception in this context. Decisions arc
made and implemented on the hasis of consensus of the members, 'The
actions, fines, and punishments, taken against those who violate the
rules and regulations, arc all determined by Bheja.
Khoria (the slash-and-hurn mode of agriculture), a part of the
traditional farming system of the Magar people, is applied to the
slopes of the government forest. They cut down small trees, slash
hushes. and hum them so that they provide nutrients to the crops.
This also prevents weeds and wild plants from growing. In most of
the area, such a practice has now been banned for various reasons.
However, in periods of drought and shortfalls in production caused by
hai Istorms, floods, and pests, the community allows Khoria
cultivation, for it is then the best alternative for deficit food
management. However. no wanton slashing and burning is permitted.
The issues decided by Bheja on such occasions arc collective in nature:
who is in severe need and which part of the forest is to be used for the
purpose. Often those who cultivate Khoria land must offer a part of
the grain harvested or money as rent or sherma to the Bheja. If,
however, Khoria is done on a private those, sherma is paid to the
owner.
Activities such as construction and repainnent of irrigation
canals, roads, and trails are taken up by the people according to the
decisions taken in the Bheja meetings. In managing common
property, Bheja thus plays a quite effective role.
()uusiol1111 F'apers
Nutrition
Since the geo-climatic conditions or the agricultural space occupied hy
Magar territory 0:.) not favor high-yield cultivation, they practice
subsistence agriculture and grow only a few vegetables. A considerable
amount of the grain they produce. moreover, goes into distilling jasd
and raksi. This adversely effects their nutritional intake which is
ohvi.o,u,'ily low. But the frequent pooja rituals partly make up for their
nutritional deficiency since these ceremonies ensure a continuous
supply of animal protein and other nutrients from the animals and
fowls slaughtered. On such OCCJSiOIl:-:, younger children arc treated
with wel,l-cooked pork to let them take wciphr. Plumpness in the
community IS held to he synonymous with health.
Dispute Mediation
In ordinary circumstances, when some dispute arises among the
members of the conuuunit y (or between itx members &KJ outsiders),
the case is taken up hy the kins of the panics in conflict. When they
fail, the case is referred to the Mukluva of the Hhrja. If his decision is
acceptable to neither party, the ,case is put before a puhlic assembly
called by the Bheju. It L'i a practice which is still quite popular (Baral
OSO: 50). Discus-nun follows on various aspects of the issue and fines
and compensations are set by that gathering. Till recently, the money
thus went !nto drinking parties or, else, the disputant groups
used. It up. Most 01 the conjugal disputes such LL'i elopement, forced
marriage, and jaari (compensation money paid by the abductor of a
woman to her previous husband) are solved hy the Bheja.
Community Solidarity
Bheja als.o integrative role in Magar society hy fostering
commu,nlty and social consensus. It gives the community
the feeling ot a single extended family.
The real significance of the institution becomes evident on
critical social occasions. At the time of marriage and other social
ceremonies, for instance, it helps in the performance of specific tasks
and ceremonial functions.
When, moreover, someone from a member household dies,
extend helping hand to the grieving family, join in the
funeral. procession and death rituals. During the thirteen days or
mourning (teru din kriva bosnes. the' member households visit the
deceased family with a mana (about 1/2 kg) of hulled rice and one ..
rupee, which is used on the thirteenth day of mourning (tcraunv. On
I
s. DIll1ku1.Blwfll us (I Strategic Cultural Convention 47
that day, the members and others arc invited to partake of the feast
called Sudhvain.
They also help each other at the time of happier occasions like
marriage. chewar, and pooja. when families. relatives, and
acquaintances assemble for help and celebration,
Entertainment
On a day, the member households do not work in the fields. The
family members and their relatives arc expected to be at home or the
place of pooja to celebrate. Drinking joad and raksi and merry-making,
jokes, and laughter arc common. Young boys and girls gather in
groups for dancing and singing contests. Dances vary according to the
occasion and season. Sometimes such groups go door to door dancing
and singing, hut most ·of the time they gather in a common place, like
rodi. and sing and dance throughout the night. Even the elderly
members. both male and female, participate.
On such occasions women and children appear quite active. All
the arrangements inside the house arc basically done by women who
have a hectic schedule preparing foods and drinks and exchanging
pahnr. the gift. Some women also participate in pooja.
CRITIQUE
Bheia. however, is not without its problems. Some may perceive in it
the scope for raising communal feelings and social conflict with other
jats (caste groups). It can certainly become a place for articulation and
aggregation of their ethnic passions, where they can he more sensitive
about their communal identity. Since all social functions arc generally
determined and monitored hy the Rheja, it may also be hindering the
growth of modem institutions. In certain cases, Rheja also seems to
be bypassing the official institutions, sueh as the VDC, court, police,
etc. Above all, it has drawn fire from the non-Magars for the waste of
money it causes on various rituals. Some 'higher caste' people are of
the opinion that rituals have impoverished quite a few Magars.
Children arc held back from schools, for social merry-making.
After thc restoration of the multiparty system, politicizauon
has set in also in this traditional institution which is showing partisan
trends. Some cider persons arc therefore genuinely worried over the
prospects of an increase in social strife and community disintegration.
CONCLUSION
Although Bheja performs regular religious tasks of the
community, it has a broader impact on the overall activities and
functioning of the Barha Mogarcu and has become one inseparable part
48 OCCl/s;(l1l 111 Paper.s " Dllclktll :Hhl'jl/ I/ J II Strat cgu: ClIIWI'II1Convention 49
property
ets up
I' m/' .' ,' 1111 11 1:" /,/11 ,, 11/ S" l'itl/ Lilt' . SeleclcO Essay s uf Fre dri k
Barth .
ES
Barth. Fretl rik
1981
grateful 10 Pan Thapa lind Dal Bahadur Ran a I lagnr for providing val uable
information,
2. cco rdrng 10 the 1:11 <:51 da tu of the crural Bureau uf Staustics ICB ) If His
Maje slY' s Government IH:-IG1. 7,24 pen: mt. i.c., 1.'39.30, . of tbe • e pale .e
peo ple belong 10 the :'Iag:lr conuuunuy of whi ch 3:!.0.- pe rcent speak Magar
language their mol her longue
3. The hill regio n 0 Rapu , Lumbuu. and Bben zo ne are collectivelj known . IS
BUTlw M., '",111 • nd :\I, g:m. an: un idcred 10 be the pionee r sculers of Ihls
area.
4. When Prithvr I arayan • hah, the I rher f modem ' cpaJ, in the t7:0s.
con olidarcd the many JlClI . lingd )ffi'; scattered across the land . he ounted
heavll ) upon Iu • l:Ig r . oldlc . lhe nly Tibet o-Burrnan group among 11,,::
people in he :mn) rh ' TS " re Bahun . ' hasas. and Thakuris ( L Still r,
1967 1
Ji m Ka ata 111 hi.
term b1I i ll khrln n the I of h ' fieldwork d ne in Tbak .hola region 111
195' Ac on.Jin: 10 hun. lhe phra C refer. 10 an ar cher. COOl est. He wrues
l p -' J. " On Fcbruar) 29. I \\ b1lrjll II II/r o f the ahabet villagers in
fall ow padd . fields, In lhe: autumn of 195• . I . \\ :I similar archery con text in
a Thak h \ illagc 10 the 1 ha khola cconling 10 !he villagers o f Syang, lhe)
hale an rcbery c nl I I r ' n lhe day f tbe testival Kuni ChMjL beld on a
full n n day of Ph I un In rh 0: cmng , Ihe) drink liquor and bo os dan e.
while women an: the audience BUI when I mqurred about thi to the people
of III, SlUd) area n no: of Ih '11\ new about this and of traditi n amo ng them
and inlon ncd therr cuhun: and the culture 01 Lek:U1 M:Igars (the Magars
of High ltitudc] tbe Kham • tagars, differ tremendously" (cf :\ Iolnar. : 2_
in " sra High Land ( ICUI:' '', ed James Fi her I
6, When the S:II11': query was pUI before Ii Rana : Iagar o f Pal pa, he
noted that the pm li ce o f Bltt'jl/ indi cmes Ihal /l.lagars wc r.: Ih.. sys h:mat ic
rulers of Ill.: pa: I The pracuce can be ce n as one of Ihe surviving legacl cs
of Ihe pasl , l.lgar .ldmil1lSlraliun
7. Accordmg 10 R. Rhusan, ( DUII/Illt/n'lI) 1984 1. Ihe lerm ' ani mis m'
was used fo r lhe behel Ihal III ObJCCIS, bolh :mullat.: and inanimate. ar e
pcrmaneml y or lempomrily inlmhll ed by spin ts or souls, The spirits havc been
conccived of as hcmgs wilh :m CXI. tencc dislinct from. and therefore capable
of. slIrvi ving Ih dealh or de.lructiou of . Ihe persons. animals . planls. or
obj ects Ihey inhabil. Oftcn all aClivili<:5 h:lve been believed 10 be ca used by
Ihesc spirits. slIally, Ihe re has bee n al. a a beli ef in Ihe existence o f Ihe
spiritual heings with powers llver the Iivcs of men . Th e spiril inhabi ling
obje cls of nalllru as well as them: in Ihc spiri l world may be worshippe d or
treated with fe ar ancl/or res peci . III faci. E.B. Ty lor has main laincd lhat
anullisl1l migh t he mall\ earl iesl form of rel igio n.
REFERE
I . The inforl nalion (111 which Ihe arti cle is based wa s coliecleJ during lhe
fieldwo rk condllcled belwe.:n January and April in 1994 iu a VD of ellSlern
I'alpa, underl akcn fo r Ihe completioll of Ihe fl,l aster ' s degree dissertucion,
Late r, Ihe wo rk was followed up duri ng the nexl field visil in Jul y· August
1994 for Co ml1mnily Dispule Medialion Study funtled hy Ihe Asia Ptnmdalillll.
Kmhmandll. T he information prescnted here in Ihis papcr was collecled
through inlerviews and part ici pant obscrvnlion methods.
111nnks arc due 10 Dr. Gnnesh Man Gurung, lI e.ad of Ihc Depallment and Dr,
K.B, Bhllllachan for their helpful commenls and silggL'Stiolls. The author is
NOTE
of the Magar life there. Primarily, it help to maintain social integrity
of the community through various functions and keeps it cultural
identity alive.
It . upplie animal protein to the members f the icty;
create the market for the local live tock, uch as goats. pig , ctc.:
rnak the arrangement required for entertainment: real' th forum
for ci tizen interaction : foster ' mutual help and respeer; and fa .ilitarcs
the pr ce: of ialization.
Bheja al fixes the labor wage, arrange ommon
management (e.g .. fore t resource management . and
mechanism for mediating cornrnunitj dispute .
II arch function ', however. need a good flov of inform ti n
and c mmunication. Bheja fulfill thi community n :d. The flow f
inform tion i . .enti I not only for fulfilling uch rol but I 0 fI r
the pr of 0 erall development, espc iallv, u uainable
devcl prnem in the pre. em-day context.
Recentl y. however. Bheja has tended 10 fragment into : maller-
. ized group of fi fteen to twelve hou ehold . A household in such a
condition can cas il. enter into a new Bheja in case a e puLion from
an old one. Thi i beginning to effect it traditional function ,
particularly bccau e r increasing politicization and partisanship. The
inst ituti n i therefore growing weaker, specifically in the
man. gcrnent of community resources and mediation of community
di. putes. The steady inroads of market economj have further diluted
it capacity. People are today more intere ted in ne and imported
cultural norms and values. owada•. the lagars are trying to break
down the harriers and boundaries of tradition and culture in their
pursuit of growth and modernization. The 0 erall con 'quence i
fragmentation :llId weakening of Blteja.
All, however, i not lost yet. Revival and renovation can still
put IXlck life into thi ' time-honored institution. NGO. l INGOs l:an
playa key rok in a proper reassessment and restructllring of the IJheja
in the new developmcntal contexL of the approaching 21st century,
50
S. Dhukal.Bheju us tI Strategic Cultural Convenuon 51
Barnl. Ke hnr Jung
20 () (lJ.. .)
Bhu han. B
19 <)
Palpa. Tunahu ra Syallgjd ku MlIgtlrllt/rukll (/IIJkr iu
Kathmandu: Royal I ' cpa! Acad Ill} .
0 , 1//I11a')' 0 1 Sociologv • ew Deihl : namol Publi all n
Singh.M.B.
2049 (BS)
Stiller. Ludwig F
1967
Clutr Dushak. (Fo ur Decades . Go rakhpur: Jan a ahityu
Prak han .
Til ,1,111 n The Peop! "1N {l<JI. 1'16-1 19. Kathmandu:
. ,h) gl I'r:i · han
BI . I Dor Bahadur
1971 1', 111'1, 'epal (2nd ediuon)
Bhundar
.uhrnandu. Ratn Po tak Uday, G. 1 (ed. )
199 Junajau Lahar, I ugust , 199:. India,

1995 P0l'ulmillll fonogrnph or . '1'<,1 Kathmandu II. lG.
cretariat, CB
Dhakal ure K
199-1
Oi. II. Kanak 1 (cd.)
dapuve traregies f tagars' I n
nthropol opcal Case ludy from K I Gand
unpublished di nation subrrun d 10
nthropology ).
Himal (HlIn:l1.ayan Iagazi ne, vari i u )
Hi mal ( epali edition), :2:0 2 Kathmandu.
II. Eh beth . D. Parlin (ed.)
1992 BU.fh Bas , ' Forest Farm. Culture; Environm III I Ul J
Development , Lond n: Routledge.
Ghumrc. Kn hna
1992
K waakit o, J Jr O
197'
Miller, asper J
1990
Molnal . August
1911<1
Rappaport . Hoy A.
1%7
Sharum. Janak Lal
204' (liS )
Shepherd , Gar)'
1992
ForUI or Farm' 1'l'/ilin IIJl.and /lUI. U III epal. Deihl :
Ox fold University Pres .
17" /1111 MtI!lan and 17,,,,, ' 1!lghhorr HIli PI!0I'Ir.
Surrounding the Ganges Plain: Tokyo Toky Um CISII}'
Pre..
i ll Villl/ge I 'epal , Kathmandu.
"Eco nomic Strategies and Ec onomic Constr:unts: :lSI: of the
Kham Magar of I orth West epal ", tl.! I1/ll High/Will
Societies in Anthropologiral Persp eliI'''. (ed.) hristoph Von
Furer Hairnendorf. 'ew Delhi: St erl ing Pub, PVI. LId.
Ritual Regulation of Envinmmentul Reknions tllI/OIl1-: a Nr w
Guinea People.
Humro Suma]: Ek Ad/lllyatl. Kathmandu : aj ha Prukashun
Lift' tllI//l1/1-: the MIt!:ltrs. Kathmandu: Snhayogi Pre. s.
Hari P. Bhauarai
'7i'r hi essay Inc . t a .hort J npu n of the human/cultural
'Ur- c olog . of the Raj han-hi. an indigenous pc pic f eastern
Tarai. II puts its tress on the VaDOU ultural tratcgi ad I . h)
the Rnjbanshi f r their . urvival in their imrncdir te "01.!.! I:al
environment 1100 I: based on the . umpti n that human : neue
adapt 10 th ir natural emironment thr ugh ulturally tructurcd
a ·ti itics, It e lain the ubsi stential mod of land-u and ' ial 1100
natural re urce utilization in the come: t of the changing environment
uh th pnmary f ill' on how the R j baruhi adopting u:
ubsistcn e dcvi e in order to maintain their . ociul and ultural life.
Pe ple-environmcnt interaction is a frequent ubjc t matter 01
e 01 ei al studies in today' anthropology (Barth 19- 6: Va. . I 9:
R pp;port 1979: rlove : 19 a : Hawley 19 ) aOO n is one
central con cpt in . uch tudi ( And' n 1972: Bha.1I\ : I S ).
The con cpt adaptation. refe to ';he pr e. through \ hich people
rnak effective usc of the energy potential of natural resource
available 11\ the area through their cult urall stru .tured activiti ,
Bennet 19 Y: H, 'IIand 1991). In it " . ocial aspects, daptation i. a
procc , involving individual people re.·! 10 s cial and
ph 'ical environment according to their \1C\\ 01 the snuauon t>Jhe
kn iwlcdgc of 'realities' the, have to face (van Be k I
l93).
TIll h< y
of knowledge i u u:1l1, termed 'perceived environment' (Han!' ' I
1977) nnd is belie ed 10 act as an external mediating factor bctwe .n
.hangc anl cultural reaction. Population di,strihution,. settlement
I aucms. soci -p ilitical organizations,
kinship tics and exchange system. and different
,U1J ecological niche ' are w ncrele examples 01 adaptive stnltcwes to
the environmental condition adopted by the people of diff erent
environments in different periods of time in order to survive
1964, 1967. 1969: Dahal 1983). Howevcr, my ccnlral argulllcnt In
this paper wi ll be thm adaptation to the .cannot he
assessed \ ithnut consideration of thy degree to which parucular land-
usc practices and other facet · of life "tyle are ecologically. sensilive lUlll •
cnvironmentally sustainable. 111e proccsses of adaptatloll should Ix:
analyzed b understanding the local environmental knowledge
/I.P Bhauarai: Raj bunshi s II!Raj gudl: 53
available for land utilization ard other natural resource management
practices maintained by the people.
A TALYTI AL FRAJ\I .W RK
The analyti al angle in this paper will be cultural-ecological . in which
a particular ociety i icwed from th pe pectivc of its intera tion
with it phy. ical well ocial environment. The con epr of
cultural ecology first p pos d by lui ian reward in 1955 and the
method of cultural ecoloa h been applied to the tud f different
?uman. societie : f1 r example, hunter/gath irer (Steward 19 -5 , pre-
indu trial fanners Ge rtz I 63: j letting 19 ). pa torali ts (Edgerton
197I. cited in M ran I 2). and contemporary rural ' ietie (
199" ), whi h primanly f u n th ulturaltrategie adopted by
these societies 11\ to urvive in th given environmental
condition . The tewardian t 'I of rultural 'OIOg tends to utilize a
culturally defined human p pulati n th unit Tanal)' i to focu
on the cultural rather than hi logical adaptati ns (Moran 19 _ ,
Although reward regarded e 01 g) ' an important causal fact r
behind ial in tituiion . he \ a ' lear that not all feature of .uhure
an b explai ned in term of C ologi al adaptati n Gurunz 199_). He
was of the opinion that ultura] e ology pay primary ';ttention to
tho e feature whose empirical nal I: . how them clo el ' involved
in the utilizati n of envir nment 11\ culturally prescribed- \ ay . He
call the ' C feature the 'cultural rc' that include e ploitative
technologj . economi organizr tion, population pattern s. and
.ociopoliii al .ystcm which are mos t lo: el related to subsistence
activitie nd e onornic arrangement " and sugge ts that only these core
elements have adaptive igni icance ( reward 19- 5). It i clear that the
concept 'cultural ecology' is primarily concerned with the search for
cultural regularities and explanation of ulture in environmental form
h. understanding the relation ' hlp between technology and the
environment. BUI in this paper. I shall try to explain how the
environment itsel f i: affected by certain cultural nctivitie of the
people paying attention to the possibility of environmental change
and degradation occurring as a consequcn e of human acti itics and
try to a ess whether thc non-c( re clement like language,
religion, an, and values havc any adaptive igniJicance
4
.
If we concepwalize lhe Rajhanshi social ystem from the
cultural-ecological pcrspecli c, the core clements con ist of haU kodaf
(. ubsistence te hnology). popul ation paltcrn. :md kheripari (economic
activitics and suhsi. tence) Md the non-cure clements consist of
various kinds of their annual ritual cycle ' . U fos and other valucs
related to Hindui m, and their own lypes of art omd cultures
5
. Thu: .
54 Dam/mill I Papers
here the theoretical focus of cultural ecology will he the. Interplay
between environment and productive technology from the
environmental side and the rule of non-core clements in the adaptive
processes of the Rajbanshis. That is, culture wld
interdependent and have a dynamic relationship Jl1 which both culture
and environment continue to adapt and readapt as each changes Jl1
response to the other's influence. ., .
The cultural-ecological method adopted for this study postulates
a relationship between environmental resources, subsistence
technology, and the behavior required to apply technology for resource
util ization. It demands examination of the interaction oj socicncs and
social institutions with one another and with the natural environment.
The method of cultural ecology consists of three procedures : (I)
analysis of the interrelationship between a subsistence system and .ltS
environment : (2) assessment of the behavior patterns aSSOCIated With
a given subsistence technology: and (3) ascertaining. the extent to
which the behavior patterns entailed in a given subsistence system
affect other aspects of the culture.
ETHNo-ECOLOGICAL VIEW OF COMMUNm' Hl"TORY
A study of the course of adaptation and its fluctuations and changes
has to focus on both the internal organization of the group and the
specific characteristics of the environment where the people live. This
has to he done in a historical framework because the essence ol
adaptation is related to the changing relationships of people .'UlU the
social and physical environment (van Beck 1(93). Of course, xrncc the
historical sources on Tarui people arc few, one has to rely on the oral
tradition. climatic data over several centuries, thc political history 01
Tarai and the official records of hoth the British East India Company
and tl1e Nepalese government. In this context GaIge (I (n5l writes:
IL appears that nearly all the in carly Tur.u hrstury WCI'e of Aryan or
pre-Aryan indigenous stuck The ancient and medieval hIstory 01 thL' ICgllll
l.
is a cyclical OIK in which men and forest have dOllllnaLed III !lilt". tllll',
10 time, people [rom IlHlre seL1kd part of the Gangcu« plan: pushed huck the
forest. cleared ihe land, and established sculcmcnrx thaI grew UILo kIngdoms
When the kingdoms withered aW:1Y hccuusc of natural culumiucx or war. the
forest reclunucd the land.
However. from the beginning of the seventeenth century, the
dense Tarat forestland was continually cleared and settled by tribal
people more permanently. According to Hamilton (I 19!: the
majority of the inhuhitants of eastern Tarai were piam uibals. I harus
were spread throughtout the whole region and the RaJhanshls, Mcchcs,
and Gangais inhabited the far eastern Tarai.
The Rajbhanshis - one of the groups of the great Bodo/Born or
Bara family - entered India in the 10th century H.C. from the cast and
settled on the hanks of the Brahmaputra and gradually spread over
Assam and the whole North and East Bengal and East Nepal (Sanyal
1965: Gautam 1(94). They have often been referred to as Koch or
Coche (regarded as their historical and original name) who were a very
powerful nation during the 17th and l Sth centuries. About that time,
however, they were absorbed hy the British in India and Jhapa and
Morang, their territories, were annexed to the kingdom of Nepal by
king Prirhvi Narayan in 1774 (Bista 1972). In this context, Berlic
(1985) writes:
We do not know very much about Iheir ancient Lillie. The Barue people rfor
us, Huru means Hodo and not Bhur), inhabitums of the areas of the actual
Slate of ./l.lanLpur (India) could he the Hodos. AL the end of the middle age, a
group of thrs big cthnohngUlstlc tumily, the Koch. occupied (India). They had
conquered a part of Lhc ancient Thai-Ahem kingdom (which once included
the western hull of the Assam on One side and the eastern half of the Morang
on other. WIth all the mtcrvcnmg coumry (Hodgson cited in Hisl:l 1(172)
II IS only III the I6theentllr) thai the,e new Maxtcr-, of the region look [be
nCLlIlC Df the R:"hall,hl.
In Nepal the Rajbanshis stand for the relatively large and
dominant groups of people living in the eastern part of the country _
namely Jhapa and Morang districts, In their physiognomy and racial
traits they could he classified anthropologically as Mongoloid (Sanyal
J965: Bertie IYX6) and arc more closely related to Tharus, Satars, and
Dunuwars than to any other people living in the areas. But unlike the
Tharus and Danuwars, who arc widely distributed in the plains, the
Rajhhanshis arc found mainly In the area between the Koshi and
Mcchi rivers in Nepal and further cast and south across the Indian
border (Bista 1972).
During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries most of the
Tarai tnbal people including the Rajbanshis practiced slash-and-burn
cultivation, shifting their locution every three or four years when the
land lost its Icrtiliry. Although ';IC land remained [allow lor a long
time, It was not reclaimed by (he forest because of continual grazing
by the herds ol cows and buffaloes driven north from India durin" the
b
(by season by Ahirs and other caste Hindus (Gaige 1975). In the
twentieth century. the intervention of technology controlled malaria
and turned the Tarai into a new frontier for human occupancy". This
resulted in a major shi ft of the population Irorn the Hills to Tarai with
far reaching consequences in population distribution and land-use
change". The pattern of change followed closely that which look place
In other parts of the Gangetic plain. That is, the stash-and-hum
cultivation was replaced by intensive farming and nomadism was
57
replaced by permanent settlement in response to the changing context
of ecology and demographic structure of the Tarai.
Thus, the rapid growth of population, increasing rate of
internal and external migration. competition for limited resources (land
and forest), and different government policies to usc and allocate these
resources have affected every aspect of these people. Natural resources,
particularly forests and grazing lands, have been decreasing and
deteriorating in the area resulting into unintended and unanticipated
environmental consequences. TIle increasing rate of resource
deterioration has threatened not only the environmental balance and
conservation of natural species, hut also the basic needs of subsistence
of the vast majority of the population, including the Rajhanshis
li ving III the area.
If we conceptualize the distrihution of cultural sub-traditions
within a population different streams. the Rajbanshis thus
participate in many such streams which are also shared hy the
members or other groups. 'mere are, however, some typical socio-
cultural features or traditions which both Raj hanshis and others
recognize exclusively Rajbanshi. for instance, one can cite the
consumption of meat in the course of performance of death rituals
performance, the system of taking bride price in marriage. the worship
of their village deities, ahscncc of the concept of menstruation as a
polluti vc process, ahandornucnt o( the sacred thread, and their typical
dress and settlement patterns (Bhattarai 19')41.
STUDY AREA AND POPllLAnON
The Rajhanshis, the focus of this study, inhabit Rajgadh village of the
Rajgardh VDC of Jhapa district (2f1° 20" - 26" 30" North; 87
0
45" -
K70 00" East). It comprises a narrow strip of alluvial plain with a very
low altitude of about 100 feet from the sea level. It has a suh-lropical
climate with a good deal of humidity in its atmosphere which LS hot
in summer and moderately cold in winter. Rajgadh receives
approximately 234 mrn of rainfall annually (CBS 1991). The total
study population comprised 335 individuals (171 males, J64 females
in a total of 59 households). The sex and dependency ratios were 104
and 0.87 respectively. TIle household size of the village ranged from
two to fourteen with an average of 5.67 persons per household. More
than half of the study population (52%) slated that they could not read
and write (i.c., were illiterate) Only one percent of the population has
the education of SL.e. equivalent and more.
SOCIAL ECOLOGY
The village is heterogenous in term of its ethnic composition. The
major caste/ethnic groups of the area arc Brahman/Chhetri, Rajbanshi,
Sutar, hi ll Matwalis (Magar. RaJ. Ncwar), Saha. Kalwar, Malaha
(Fishermen). Thakur (Barber), Guncsh. Muslim, and occupational
castes such as Kami. Damai. Among these groups, Rajbanshi. Satar,
and Gancsh arc indiscnous inhabitants whereas most of the
Brahman/Chhetri. hill and occupational castes arc hill
migrants who arrived In different phases of time during the last fi fly
years. The other remaining groups like Saha, Kalwar, Malaha.
Thakur, and Muslim arc of Indian oriuin who were invited to settle in
the area during the Ranu Regime to agricultural production
and to increase land revenue in the Tarui.
The Rajhanshis arc mostly agricultural people. Therefore, in
most of the cases their villages arc found in an open space in the
middle of their farms. Occasionally, they ,dso build a village 1'01' a
group of persons with their cultivated land elsewhere because they
prefer to live with their community. In every village. there IS a
relatively rich and big landowner who is known as Dconiva. He acts
as the chief of the village. Thus. a Rajbanshi village consixts of a
comparatively bigger house of Deoniva (landlord) and a group of
smaller houses of h is sharecroppers and other landless people who
work as wage laborers for him. There is thus no well defined village
boundarv under such condition and the houndaries arc not marked out
with fencing or piJlars. However. the villagers know the boundary or
their village which often consLsts of an imaginary line along some big
tree or big earthen embankment on the cultivated land known as dhur.
The basic residential. social. relit!ious, and economic unit of
the Rajhanshis or Rajgadh is the patrilineal nuclear family. This unit
consists of a man, his wi fc, and their unmarried children, usually
occupy mg a single dwelling. In some cases. a household may consist
of two or more married males. their wives, and unmarried children. all
working on the same undi vidcd land. Such households arc termed here
as JOLnt families. which may split into two or more residential units,
regularly occupying outbuildings. away from the main house. In joint
families. however. the basic economic unit is not a residential un it.
All the individuals share in the family occupation and cat from the
same hearth In joint families.
In most cases, the head of the family is the eldest active male
or the household. He hears the final responsihillty and is the sole
authority for the family's well-being and everyone is supposed to work
act according to his direction. The wife or the eldest male.
regardless of whether the latter is living, is the head of household
chores and or all the females, particularly in the joint family. The
practice of patrilocality in the Rajhanshi community can he seen from
the fact that alter the death of the household head, the responsihility
and authority arc both transferred naturally 10 the eldest son. hut the
eldest woman of the household becomes the titular head of the
household upon her husband's death, if there arc no younger sons or
hrothers to take over.
',')
The Rajbanshis of this village prefer to live in nuclear families
than in extended or Joint families due to inadequate land-holding and
poor fcrt ility of the soil, Ahout XI'/; ()] tile total 51) Rajbanshi
households bclonu 10 the nuclear families. Jt seems that their family
types arc more orlcxs influenced by the size of land-holding and other
resources available for subsistence. The rules of inheritence arc on the
'principle of ownership hy birth' and the exercise of inheritance rights
by the Rajhanshi always proceeds through stages. A separation from
the mam household usuullv occurs 'LS brothers divide their rather's
properly and the final di vision of the property usually occurs after all
the sons of a man have got married and have established separate
households. In most cases. however. the process gets delayed until
after their father's death.
SOCIOClJLTlJRAL PRACTICES AND ADAPTATION
There arc two main ways of relat Ing socio-cultural systems (rituals.
festivals. cic.) to the environmental phenomena: either showing that
items of the socio-cultural system funct ion as a part of the whole
system that also includes the local ecological phenomena or else
showing that the environmental phenomena are responsible in some
manner for the origin or development of the socio-cultural system
under investigation (Vayda 1969L 111c fe.sti vals and rituals which the
Rajbanshis have been celebrating arc associated with one or the other
of the Hindu pantheon. TIle Hindu concept of sacredness (e.g .. sacred
cow. trees. and plants) is one of the sustainable or beneficial
relationships that have evolved in the course of the interaction of
human population with the natural environment over time (Hams:
1974). Both of these ways arc applicable in the study or [he socio-
cultural system of the Rajbanshis. For example. the tradition of
conspicuous consumption and expenses in their rite d' pa\'sa,Re
evolved from their dominant position in the arenas of resource usc and
allocation in the past. These customs were functional in the past.
when there were enough resources for consumption or distribution for
continuing the production in the succeeding years. Thus. the
environmental attributes (high soil terril ity. abundance or natural
vegetation) arc responsible in the orrgrn of the customs of
conspicuous consumption in marriages and death rituals among these
Rajbanshis of Nepal Tarai, On the other hand. these rituals and
festivals like Mughesuxunmti8 and performance of various uu.»
function as the part of the ecosystem that help to maintain the 1ocal
ecosystem hy consuming the excess or surplus production in the
appropriate season. Maghcsagaranu IS celebrated j n the middle of
January (a cold season in the area) and is believed to he the best period
for meat consumption in that hot climatic area. The Lilas also act as
recreational institutions 1'\11' the Rajhanshis. as there arc no other
entertainments in a concrete sense.
Likewise. festivals such ,LS Aashari Ghasari. K£I1I1·il'lIIvu. and
Rangsiruwa arc more or less related to the environmental potentiality
of the area. Aashar! Ghascni is celebrated In the month ot Ashadh
(Julv). Rajbanshis worship the forest as god lndra (kll1g of the heaven
and ,;1' rain) to get good rain all over the year on this occasion,
Since all the lands or the area arc rainfcd, this festival reflects the role
or forests in rain which is an inherent part of their life. Both
ROI1,RsiruHa and Kadisiruwa arc related to the land. the on ly permanent
source of livelihood for the Rajbanshis, These festivals arc celebrated
on the second and third davs 'of Baisakh (the third week of April)
respectively. All the R'lJoan:his of a village collectively worship land
for its sustainable fertility: their mud-play signifIes the value of soil
and land in their survival. Thus. the socio-cultural features of the
Rajbanshis in some respect arc the product or the local environmental
phenomena. But. at the same time. they also act as a part of the local
ecosystems.
TECHNOLOGY
livery human society employs techniques in order to appropriate
resources from the environment. Each technique is a comhination of
material artifacts (tools and machines) and the knowledge required [n
make and usc them. Thus. the technology of a human group is the
tptal system or means of production hy which the group interacts with
its environment. This includes the usc of tools. the pattern or works.
the information of the knowledge employed. and the organization of
resource for productive activities. The numbers and kinds or tools a
society uses arc related to the cultural practices and life-styles of ils
members. The material culture of the Rajbanshis, which IS reflected in
their productive technology and the means hy which they have been
e"plnlting the resources around them appear simple. They fulfill their
subsistence as the natural environment permits them with their simple
technological knowledge of irrigation. ploughing, and transportation.
As they arc agriculturists of the plain region, they have been using
their traditional simple technology in order 10 survive in that
environment because it has been comparatively productive until nnw.
Since technology and environment form a single system together. if
one changes. ultimately the other one also is effected. Due to
population growth, migration. immigration. and forest depiction. the
soil lcrtilitv or the area has chanced. and to manage this change. these
people also changed technology or subsistence. for
example, they have adopted a culture of cultivation of cash crops
60 Occasional Papers
H.P. Bhattarai: Rajbanshis ojRajgadh 61
including the technology of groundwater irrigation, and improved
varieties of crops in spite of the cultivation of cereal crops of local
varieties, depending on the monsoon. However, changes in the
traditional mode of subsistence are not significant as in other areas and
as among other people such as the hill folk.
Agriculture is the main subsistence of the Rajbanshis, which is
exclusively based on human and livestock power but they sometimes
also use the rice and flour mills located in the village. Agriculture, as
a result, is labor-intensive for those crops harvested in winter such as
tobacco and wheat. Almost all of the Rajbanshis rarely use chemical
fertilizers but use frequently both manure and animal dung. The
shortage of firewood due to deforestation and other constraints posed
by the forest guards have induced them to use cattle-dung as a cooking
material which is a convenient form of energy for the rural women due
to its long lasting heat giving capacity. On the other hand, use of
animal dung as firewood has also a certain negative impact upon farm
production since alternative sources for fertilizing the field are lacking.
Usually the Rajbanshis use the following implements for their
agricultural activities:
I. Hal- plough
2. Kodal - spade/hoe
3. Kurali - axe for splitting wood
4. Kachiva - sickle for harvesting
5. Husuwa - sickle for jute plant
6. Duo - chopper for cutting wood
7. Bossila - smaller axe for cutting and splitting wood/bamboo
8. Dhungni - club to break the clods after ploughing
9. Mow - harrow
10. Passini - spud
The use of these agricultural implements shows that they
depend heavily on human and animal labor rather than machine for
cultivation. Their hal is similar to those used in other regions of
Nepal - a wooden structure with a wooden moldboard and iron share
and hook, pulled by oxen or buffaloes. The plough is connected to the
yoke with the help of jotar (jute string). As the use of the plough is
the main characteristic of subsistence agriculture, it is an important
tool for tilling agricultural land. The digging spade - kodal - is used
mostly in making terraces during the rainy season to hold back water
for transplanting paddy and is another prime agricultural implement.
However, the other tools like club, .ladder, spud (specially used for
weeding kitchen garden, andjutc and tobacco plantations), and sickles
are also used frequently. Implements which are used for extraction of
forest materials such as firewood, or are used as housing materials,
such as ploughing wood etc., are axes for splitting wood; small axes
f
and chisels, specially used for making wooden agricultural implements
like plough; and the chopper used for cutting bamboo and fence-
making and other purposes. These tools have been used by these
people for generations. No changes are yet evident in the size and
shape of these tools, except the plough. Some Rajbanshi households
have been using an improved form of plough made from iron plates
provided by the local cooperatives and the Agricultural Development
Project.
These people depend heavily on the monsoon for irrigation
because there are no irrigation facilities. They simply raise aali
(embankment) around the small plots of land called khutti with the
help of kodal to preserve water and prevent soil erosion.
Their only means of transportation is the Bullock Cart, drawn
by bullocks and sometimes 'by male buffaloes. It can go over the
unmetalled roads, muddy fields, and over small embankments of about
two feet height. It is generally used to fetch corn and hay from the
fields, firewood from the forest, merchandise from the market, and
even people. It is usually made of wood, bamboo pole, iron sheets,
and has an axle.
They have been using spinning and weaving implements to
make jute strings from jute fiber for use in household articles, partly
for their own consumption and partly for sale. Such articles are dhokra
(a jute cloth used as bedsheet), sutli (jute thread for tying the parts of
the hut), and rassi (rope to keep the cattle tied in cowsheds).
They also make fishing nets and traps from bamboo and dry
jute plants which they use for fishing in their paddy fields during the
rainy season after the paddy is planted when they have time away from
the farm. The small fish, thus collected, Sun-dried and preserved in a
bamboo pot, are called sidol (dry fish), which make a prestigious and
tasty curry,
ECONOMY AND SUBSISTENCE
As in most Nepali villages, the main source of livelihood among the
Rajbanshis is agriculture supplemented locally by animal husbandry,
small scale trade, and wage labor. The pattern of landownership extant
today in Rajgadh dates from the dawn of the Rana rule; may be, even
earlier, when the practice of allotting land to the household for
cultivation was perhaps established. State ownership was the
traditional form of land tenure, called raikar. In the absence of private
property rights on the raikar land, the cultivator could enjoy only the
rights to cultivate the land and enjoy its produce subject to the
payment of the rent to the state. Although, state land had been
registered in favor of the cultivators before the first quarter of the 20th
century ended. a large disparity remained in land-holding size even after
the Land Reform Program of 11)64 Land Ad prohibited landowners
from appropriating in excess of half of the annual yield of the land.
Also, the cultivator who acquires tenancy rights cannot be evicted by
the landlord except through a judicial decree. But in practice, these
provisions arc not effectively implemented.
D!UllI!UIl" (paddy land) and bhitti (dry land) are the main land
types of the study' village as classified on the basis of irrigation
facilities. soil types. and types of crops cultivated. It has a total of
23.5.1.5 ha of culuvablc land, out of which 11)4.1)1 ha is dhanhar land
(X2.XW;( of the total cultivable land). Likewise. there is 40.9 I ha of
bluth land ( 17.J I (X, of the total land under cultivation). The land-man
ratio and land-household ratio in the study village are 0.15 ha per
person and O.HH ha per household respectively. Adhvan
(sharecropping) and thcklcu (fixed rent) are two ways of land renting in
this village. Mortgaging of land W;:L'i also reported in significant
numbers (five cases. or t\.4(1r' of the 51) households) in the study area
which is locally known as Ria) Mamuni.
"11K Bralnnan/Chhetri group has the largest amount of land-
holding per household compared to other ethnic groups in the study
area. Out of the total cultivated land 235.15 ha, more than SOt-X,. i.c ..
II H ha is owned by the Brahmans/Chhetris. Rajhanshis who had
owned abut 74(K, of the total 212.15 ha cultivated land in 11)64-65
owned only 41.15
ck,
(1)96.7K ha) in 11)1)2-9.-:;. Their caste status and
literacy skills enabled them to take advantage of the administrative
regulations on land acquisition. In addition. the heavy expenses on life
cycle ceremonies and social occasions" of the Rajbanshis forced them
to sell their lands to the hill immigrants because very few of them
(about jt/l of" the total 59 households) could fulfill their social and
cultural obligations (including ceremonial expenses) with their farm
surplus and savings. All others (95% of the total households) have to
sell land (54.24o/r) or mortgage (8.47
Lk)
and take loan (32.249(,) from
the local moneylender (usually hill Brahman) to meet their social
requirements. As the size of land-holding ranges from 0.002 ha to
30.6 ha per household. majority of the Rajbanshis are now engaged in
agriculture either as marginal landholders or as tenants and
sharecroppers of the big landholders (Rajbanshis or Brahmans/
Chhetries). .
As land and family size is not distributed equally among the
households in the study area. the degree to which each household
produces its own food varies considerably. It generally depends on the
quality and quantity of the land processed hy the household and the
number of members in the family. Although the average land-holding
of the sampled househoi us is I.Og ha, more than SOul of the
households produce grain to meet only three months' requirements.
Thus. diversification and intensification of crops and exploitation of
local resources (wagc/dini labor, firewood selling) to eam cash are the
main strategies adopted by the Rajbanshis to manage population
srowth. land scarcity. and social and cultural needs.
L As in other rural areas of Nepal. the fanning practice of the
studv area is characterized by mixed funning. which includes
agriculture. animal husbandry. and horticulture. Agricultural activities
are characterized by simple traditional techniques w h e r ~ manual l ~ b o r
and animal power are used for ploughing. sOW111g, weeding.
harvesting, and threshing. Changes in demographic structure through
natural growth, migration, and immigration, and its resultant pressure
on the agricultural sector have altered the cropping patterns of the
study area. In the past, when land W,L'i in abundance and population
size was relatively small, people used to grow only one crop of paddy
which was transplanted (in most cases, seed broadcasting was the rule
in over two-thirds of the paddy land) in July/August to be harvested in
November. For the remaining months of year, land was kept fallow
when lame flocks or cattle and buffaloes grazed there. This fallow
period provided sufficient time for regeneration of the natural soil
nutrient. on the one hand. and absorption of the excreta of cattle and
buffaloes on the field soil on the other. It had a positive effect upon
land productivity. Some of the large land-holding Rajbanshis here still
follow such mode of cropping because they own enough land.
In the course of time, as population increased, there was
fragmentation ofland and single cropping could not meet the increased
demand for food and other requirements. As efforts were made to
intensify the farming practices to adjust to the changing social and
natural environment. winter crops were introduced along with
improvement in the irrigation system. With the arrival of the hill
people. maize and millet were also introduced around the 50s. The
fallow period of land between two crops has shortened and the
frequency of crop rotation in the same land in a year has increased. In
addition to paddy, Rajbanshis have started to grow maize, wheat,
millet. and summer paddy (where irrigation is possible in winter).
Gradually, subsistence farming is being monetized. Various cash crops
such as tobacco, jute, vegetables like chilies, tomatoes. and potatoes
have been cultivated for their own consumption and partly for sale
which are recent developments in the local economy. Weekly market
facilities can fetch cash from these products. Such a situation induced
Boscrup (1965) to forward the hypothesis that "As population grows
and land-holding becomes insufficient, agricultural practices tend to
62 (h,'US/IIIIUI Papers

l
!
I
i
,
I
i
HP. Bh,Jf{Wlli .. RUjhlll/shis oj Rajgl/dh 63
64 Occasional Papers HI' Bhnncuai: f{1IjhIlIlS!ris 0/ J<1I1.'-:lIIfh
become intensified", which is primarily based on the Law of Leas!
Effort. This law holds that cultivators do not normally intensify or
adopt technological innovation for intensive agriculture except when
forced by the pressure of population on resource. The general patterns
of intensification include increasing amounts of land being brought
under cultivation, a shortening of fallow periods leading up to multi-
cropping, a shift from dry to irrigated agriculture, change from natural
grazing to producing fodder, and increasing inputs of time into
agriculture on the part of the community. However, as the area is flat
and fertile which makes transportation easy and market facilities
available, it is profitable to exchange agri-production into cash, This
provides income throughout the year to fulfill recurrent and contingent
expenditure of the Rajbanshis irrespective of population pressure and
land scarcity. This means that environmental condition may he as
important as population pressure anl land scarcity in determining the
cropping intensity of a particular geographical area.
Work on the farm is done by the members of the family.
Excluding the children helow five years, the old, and physically
disabled members of the household, all participate in economic
production. In mallY cases, they may handle all the activities -
ploughing; harrowing: breaking clods; weeding maize: and
transplanting tobacco. millet, and paddy seedlings. Some well-to-do
households maintain keep attendants. for domestic service and fanu
work. Generally, these attendants arc poor Rajbanshis. who often
prefer to live in the Rajbanshi households because their rood hahits
resemble. There is often a pre-arranged contract between the employer
and the labor hand. 111c relatively hotter-off households occasionally
grant loan to labor households during critical periods and supply them
food grains when food shortage occurs on the understanding that the
latter would work ax labor hands during the peak farming seasons.
Basically this type of relationship exists between landlord and
sharecroppers living on the free Janel of the former. Hiring of labors on
daily/monthly wages for ploughing, transplanting, weeding, and
harvesting is also in practice. Transplantation of paddy is usually
carried out by women labors called Ropahar. However, the use ol
labor is affected by a variety or factors such as quality of soil,
irrigation facilities, types of crops grown, size of holding, ability of
fanning and availability of other types of labor. distance of the land-
holdings from the homesteads, and the span of peak season for farm
operation.
As fanning gcis more intensified and diversified. there is greater
demand for labor. The labor of family members alone often cannot
meet the demand. The Rajbanshis along with other ethnic groups of

Tnrai have developed IUI/di as an illllJgenous system of labor exchange
for the peak agricultural season and dini. which is concerned WIth
remuneration for the lahor concerned in kind. is also in pracucc.
Hauli is used muinlv during transplantation (If tobacco and
preparation of tan (process of making bundles or tobacco leaf
the leaf is separated from stem). Hauf is not [ike -cxchangc labor' .In
the sense that it is not ncccsxarily reciprocal. TIle household \V'hICh
hosts huuli has to provide food with meat ,uKI other varieties of curry
and mun cpopricc r or chum rhiucn rice) to the person at work. ThIS
system is not on 1\.' economically important (the hosts can thus save
quite a large expe,;ditun:l. It can also preserve social integration. Since
anyone can he called for work. irrespective of his wealth ,-uKI SOl'I,I!
prestige. it helps to maintain emotional interdependence in
Rajbunshi society. However. women arc not usually allowed to go lor
ha;tli. nor is there auv rule that the head of the family must go for it.
The well-off househ(;lds send other persons to work for them and pay
them in cash/ kind. Defaulting hrings social ostracism. Such practice
plays a sig:nificant rn!c in strcngthc ning the Rajhanshi economy. They
not onlv fulfill their dailv labor demands, hut also save good amounts
of In dini. a group '01' laborers is hired for harvesting. threshing,
and winnowmg of paddy and wheat, even in extracting jute fiher>
Generally, the laborers receive IlXth of the total production of their
work from the landowner.
'I11e agricultural calendar bruins in March/April and ends in
November ahout nine 1ll00;ths. Paddy, maize. wheat. millet.
oilsccdx, and Icntif" arc the major crops grown. Jute and tobacco arc
extensively grown as cash crops. Green vegetables arc _grmvn I.)artly
for consumption and partly for sale. Usually, cereal graws suusty the
subsistence needs of the Rajbanshis. whereas the cash crops provide an
extra income to fulfill other household requirements. Since all or these
arc labor-intensive crops, their level of production can he raised hy
increasing labor inputs. However, today, then.' is little land .f()r
continued expansion and labor input in the area is already so high
(Mixhra, Uprcty. and Pandey 1992) that labor intensification al.one can
raise production only minimally. Their i." intensive demand for labor
only at certain times of the year. i.c .. during the peak
season. Consequently. a large part of the labor force must find
employment elsewhere or it has to he employed during: the sl.ack
agricultural seasons in other sectors. Such free time (off - farm period)
i.; used to exploit what Ycngoyn (1975) has rcfcrcd 10 as 'micro-
economic niches' (cited from Poffcrbcrger 1976) such as small trade,
seasonal migration, cottage industry, collection cull! selling of
firewood and timber, in order to supplement the household income.
66 Ociasional Papers HI'. Bhatturui: Rajbanshis o(Raj!illJh 67
fields, and applying manure and compost obtained from grasses, forest
leafs, and residue of previous crops to maintain soil fertility.
Sometimes they usc chemical fertilizers (mostly nitrogenous), which
the average subsistence farmers cannot afford. Hence the traditional use
of dung manure supplemented with compost made from dry weeds,
forest leafs, and crop residue predominates. Although the combination
of crops varies depending on the local soi I condition and irrigation
facilities, the general cropping pattern is changing from extensive to
an intensive one. The general cropping pattern remains as follows:
Animal husbandry is an integral part of the rural agricultural
system. In additon to manure. draft service. and dairy products,
domestic animals contribute additional income. Cattle and buffaloes
are kept as a source of draft power, milking, and farm. The males are
used for drafting carts and ploughing and females for milk. Rajbanshis
keep cows, oxen, buffaloes, male buffaloes, and goats. Some
households provide animals to other households without transferring
ownership to be kept in Adhiyan system (lambs are equally distributed
between the owner and the caretaker). Ducks and pigeons are also
reared. As the domestic animals play an important role in the socio -
economic and religious life of the community, they reflect the status
of the owner in the society. Since Rajbanshis claim Chhetri's status
in the caste hierarchy, they do not domesticate pigs and chickens
following the custom of high caste Hindus and consume goat meat,
not pork and chicken.
Apart from the additional income that the sale of these animals
and their products (milk, ghcc, curd, and meat) fetches, there is also
manure that helps in maintaining soil fertility. As chemical fertilizers
are costly and sometimes not available in time, manure is of great
importance in the local farming system. Altogether, 321 animals were
raised by the sample Rajbanshi households - 90 cows, 28 buffaloes,
73 oxen, and 130 goats. On the average, one cattle produces about 2
kg of dung per clay whereas buffalo brings 3 kg and goat about 100
gram. Thus annually, 163 cattle produce 118,990 kg of dung, 28
buffaloes bring 30,660 kg, and 130 goats 4745 kg which altogether is
154,395 kg for the 59 sample Rajbanshi households. The average
Many Rajbanshis have started to exploit the microeconomic niches
available in the area and other places up to Kathmandu, and arc now
reaching as far as the Indian states of Punjab, Hariyana, and Delhi.
It was also observed that land usc for growing crops is more or
less determined by socio-religious and cultural practices, although the
combination of crops is varied depending on the local soil condition
and available irrigation facilities. One can easily observe that farmers
here have extended agricultural land as much ,L, much as possible to
respond to the growing population pressures. Different types of crops
arc grown in the same field (mixed cropping ) to overcome the
shortage of cultivable land. The choice of crop to be cultivated is
determined by their habits and cultural values. TIle Rajbanshis thus
manage to grow two or more crops in the same land at the same time.
Mixed cropping helps to maintain the fertility of soil through
utilization of different proportions of soil nutrients. Some leguminous
plants provide extra nitrogen to the soil and can be utilized by another
crop, which is mixed with legume. Hence, their knowledge of mixed
cropping not only helps to understand their realization of the given
ecological constraints but also helps them in many other ways to
survive despite land scarcity. TIle major patterns of mixed cropping
practiced by the Rajbanshis are:
Paddy + Khesari + Pulses and Soybean (on the levees of paddy
land)
Maize + Cucumber + Pumpkin + Beans
Mustard + Musuri (Lens culinaris ) + Radish
Potato + Green vegetables
The difference in consumption and economic status of the
Rajbanshi households has also influenced cropping patterns in the
study area. Acute need often leads the poor Rajbanshi peasants to sell
their best expensive crops. These peasants consume crops that arc in
lesser demand in the market. This explains the reason for selecting
crops for the family farm. The subsistence farmers primarily need
cereal food for their survival, whereas the affluent farmers with surplus
production prefer to grow better grain species for their consumption
and get better price from their sale. However, even this trend has been
changing recently. Three households out of fifty-nine cultivated
tobacco and green vegetables which fetch more profit than other cereal
crops (cereal grains can be easily bought by the profit money
obtained from the sale of cash crop). Farmers often invest their extra
time also in small business and kitchen gardening to gain more cash.
Rajbanshis also keep parts of their farmland fallow, leaving
domestic animals in the fallow fields, grazing them on harvested
Land Type
A. Dhanahar
Land
B. Bhith
Land
Fallowing Pattern and Period
I. Paddy -- (7 months )- Fallow
~ Paddv - (2-3 months)- Maize/
Oil SeedlJlItelVegetahles
3. Paddy - Wheat - Paddy
I. Tobacco - (8 months)- Fallow
2. Jute/Maze - (3-4 months) -
Mustard Oil Seed
Evaluation
Extensive
Semi-Extensive
Intensive
Extensive
Semi - Extensive
HI' Blmtuna, R1'IluII/IIII.\· IJ/R<iJgeulh (,')
overall production system of the local Rajhanshis is clearly domestic
or peasant in nature and their economy supports Firth's definition of
peasant econOlllles " ....a system of small-scale producer. with simple
technology and equipment often relying primari Iy for their subsistence
on what they themselves produced .. such a small scale productive
organization, buill upon the usc of close relation with primary
resources has its own conconutam system of capital accumulation and
indebtedness. marketing and dixtriburion" (cited in Dahal: 1983 L
The vuxt majority nf the people living in the study area depend on
agriculture tor their livelihood. which Itself IS heavily dependent on
forestry for its sustenance. But the (ann ccosvstcm is rclauvclv self-
cnntaincu and provides Illost of the needs of llle farm Iamilv lor food
and sheller. The lamilv Iarm rnannucmcnt system in the stud)' area can
be deemed a complex arrangement of soi I. water sources, natural
vcgctauon, crops, livestock. labor arrangement, and other cultural and
social resources that a farm household manages In its production.
In the past. the interaction and balance developed by the local
lurmcr between crop production, livestock raising, and forestry allowed
sufficient levels of agricultural production, More recently, however,
rapid population growth and fragmentation of land-holdings
throughout the region have brought increased competition for scarce
resources disturbing the ecological balance. As a result, yields arc
declining, a consequence of declining land fertility due to lower
nutrient llow through the forests. Consequently, people have changed
their cultural practices, adopting new technologies for the improved
varieties of crops. .U1d new consumption patterns. Again,
intensification of agriculture is another example of change in the local
cultural practices by means of which the people have responded to the
decline in crop yield.
TIle existing relationship between crops, human population,
livestock, and forest shows the cultural-ecological relationship in the
study area. It can help one to see how the local ecosystem is
maintained or disturbed by the prevailing socio-cultural practices of
the people. The entire environment of the village can be divided into
three main ecological components: (I) physical or abiotic component
which includes heal. water. land. and climatic conditions; (2) biotic
component which includes all the Ii vi ng organisms such as plants
including crops and wild vegetation and human population; and (3)
cultural component which includes knowledge, value and belief
amount 01 compost available per household LS 2(117 kg which can
contribute to increase snil Icrti lii y without spending hard cash for
chemical fertilizers. The uneven distrihution of animals and differences
in then types. however, render compost production per household
unequal. Animal husbandry in (he studv area is thus dircct!v related to
its agro-economy, As subsistence agriculture is a dOIllIlHUll' part of its
economy, animal husbandry provides not only manure hut also the
basic foodstuff. Due to the fraJ;menlatllln of holdings and lack of
gra/i ng lands, however. the number of domesticated an imal» is
decreasing.
Rujbanshis also practice a syxtcm of renting animals locally
called /)(/11(/. '111e household which hires the animal (oxcn/buffalocs l
and annually pays 12-15 mounds of paddy to the owner of the animal
uses It for ploughing or draft purposes. He IS also responsible for it x
caring and rearing, Generally, the landlords who hire out oxen to their
sharecoppers get their rent during the period of paddy harvc-tina.
Since animal husbandry is an integra! part of the agriculture
system of Rajbanshis, the number of livestock and
productivity depend upon the availability of forest resources, A close
relationship thus persists between the forests. rainfall.
agricultural productivity as much of the land in the study is
rainfcd.Turcsts play an important role in sustaining land productivity
by providing dung manure supported with bedding materials from the
forest which also provides grass and fodder. Thus, uuricultural
production, the principle source of livelihood of the Rajh:lnshls. IS
directly related to the quality and quantity of wild vegetation. If the
forest cover decreases. fewer animals can he raised. Consequently,
smaller amounts of manure will he produced. Crop yield will decline
and shortfalls in production wi II mean grain deficit. Forest resources
thus playa key role in sustaining village economy by directly or
indirectly contributing to agricultural production.
. Although agriculture is the backbone of Rajbanshi economy.
Income from farm alone is not enough to maintain the households
because many households have inadequate land-holding. Moreover,
population increase means food deficits and additional expenses.
People have to buy clothes. iron implements. salt, cooking oi I, soap,
tobacco, kerosene, and spices, which call fill' income beyond what
their land hrings. They thus engage themselves in off-farm or
suhsidiary economic activities; wage labor, firewood/timber collection
and selling, small trade and husincsx. services, and seasonal migration.
Off-farm activities thus provide alternative opportuniucx to generate
cash which also helps to raise the social status of a household by
providing means for spending in different social sectors. Hence, the
FAR\I ECOSYSTEM
RELATIONS
AND ECO-ClJLTlJRAL-
70 71
system about cropping patterns, choicc of crop cultivation aod animal
r.using. people's consumpuon paucms, and the technologies used hy
them to extract resources from the cnvi ron rue nt, 111e: ecosystem or
ecological system of the study area then becomes a relatively stable
sci of organic relationship between the livestock. forest. crops. and
human population In which energy. material. and infonnation .UT in
continuous CIrculation and where all these components can he seen III
terms of their systeillwise reperCllSSlOns. The Rajbunshis of the study
area can thus he understood as a population not only in terms of their
social organization hut as an Integral part of the ccosyxtctu with a
common set of distinctive lcaturc-, by which they maintain a common
SCI of trophic (energy) relationship within the ecosystem which they
occupy. This also means the Rajhanshis iUT to be idcruihcd
distinctly from other population in the study area in terms of the
position of the 'niche:' which they occupy in the total ecosystem.
Alt the livestock including caulc and water buffaloes arc key
links in the village ecosystem a.'; providers t)f manure which when
composrcd with wild vegetation and agri-residuc is used to fertilize the
fields. 111e male cattle and buffaloes arc necessary tor ploughmg the
field and females arc used lor production of milk and offspring, They
can also produce signi Iicant amounts 01 manure. Livestock provide
meat. milk. and other d.ury products for the human pnpulation and the
human population maintains livestock by investing Iahor. capital. and
time. Human population and livestock iUT thus in a symbiotic
relationship in terms of population interaction. Human population.
again, invests capital, labor. .md time for cultivating cmd harvesting
crops, which provides them food grain for meal and cash for various
kinds of expenditure. This is an example of a symbiotic relationship
among the human and cultivated plant species. In this way, energy,
material and information in continuous circulation maintain a stable
set of organic relationship between the Ii vestee k. forest, crops. and
human population up to a certain energy level. If one clement of the
ecosystem extracts more energy without recycling. then the ecological
balance gets disturbed causing severe slue effects.
Forests have always been an inseparable part of the subsistence
activities of the people which not only provide fuclwood, timber,
herbs. and grazing lands for livestock hut also help to protect them
from natural calamities such as soil erosion. landslides, and floods
(Bajracharya: 1(83). Forests III addition provide timber and poles for
housing, livestock sheds. furnuun, for households as well as farm
implements and tools for the local people. The local people use the
forest products such as birds, fish, wild animals, fruits, and honey for
direct domestic consumption. and hamboo shoots. mushrooms. certain
kinds of herbs. and honey are signi Iicant sources of lood and income
from the forest. TI1e forest thus becomes a renewable source of
production of goods and services and is an inherent part of the human
environment. ,1, well as a medium for recycling energy and waste
products.
This same resource (forest) is becoming scarce day hy day. a
scarcity reflected locally in the number of houses needed to collect
loads or firewood, In this context, many Rajhanshis reported that
whereas a few decades ago It took only OIlC hour to collect one bhar (a
load that an ordinary man can carry I of firewood. now it takes about 4-
-'1 hours. 011 an average, one household requires nne bhar of firewood a
day: their consuurprion IS rcl.uivcly higher than among the hill folk in
the area. 111c high consumption is mainly due to the large ard deep
ovens in local usc and the production of hulled nee which needs large
amounts of firewood. It was also observed that a signi Iicant amount of
timber was being smuggled hy many local people to get cash causing
muxxivc deforestation III the: area which adversely affects the local
ccologicul balance.
The decrease in livestock rarsmg due to fodder and grazing
scarcity has a negatlve impact on subsistence farmers ofthc area. The
question of fodder and grazing shortage in the forest IS crucial because
in the absence of fodder and grazing land fertilizers cannot he produced,
and without sufficient fertilizer the production level inevitably
declines. which ultimately disturbs the people's subsistence patterns.
The environment then becomes more hazardous to exploit. Thus, it
seems essential that some system he developed to re-establish and
maintain the balance between man and his environment.
Although, there were no institutional and social/cultural
mechanisms to control and maintain the natural resources such ,1S the
forest land developed by these people similar to the Kipat system of
the Rai and Limbus and Shingo Nawa of the Sherpas in the Hills and
Mountain respectively (Fisher 1990, Shrestha et al 1991), they have
recognized the need of a social mechanism to control and maintain
man's relation with the environment in the form of collective pooja.
They worship green trees as deities and perform poojas before entering
the forest to collect timber and firewood. They never cut and fell down
the green trees unless there is a sharp need. Usually they fulfil their
timber needs with mrl and dried trees. Branches are used as firewood
material. But thi s tradition of resource control has disappeared
gradually because of population pressure and the state policy toward
the forest resources (Bajracharaya 1983 ). Before 1951, the state also
encouraged villagers to reclaim the forest land in order to maximize
state revenue (Regrni 1978).
72 Occasional Papers
H.P. Bhattarai: Rajbanshis ofRajgadh 73
NOTES
diversify their agricultural practices by improving irrigation system,
adopting crops like wheat and maize, and by changing their cropping
practices. But the degree of change is limited and is determined by the
ecological potential and the economic condition of these people for
investment in improving the existing situation. A general pattern of
shift from mono-cropping to multi-cropping and mixed cropping, and
from cereal cultivation to cash crop cultivation has also been observed
in the study areas. They have also started growing vegetables for sale
and run small scale trading businesses and have taken to seasonal
migration to generate sources of cash. Thus, even as the subsistence
activities are changing, the respective socioculture practices of the
people are also undergoing some modifications to meet the changing
needs of the time. They have changed their food habits and have started
to use maize and millet in their diet. They have also considerably
substituted their conspicuous consumption and other expenses on
tradition and rituals, adopting alternative forms such as Dhuki and
Damedome Biha in their marriage practices. They are now abandoning
the custom of Bhumi Dan (Land Gift) during rituals because time and
resources are in shorter supply. All these changes in the local socio-
cultural practices and economic activities have developed as their
resistence to the environmental conditions and are the culturally
structured adaptive strategies of the Rajbanshis for survival in the
changing context of Rajgadh and its environs.
As the human population depends heavily upon the wild
vegetation of forest land (see Rai 1985 ) in terms of ecosystem, the
human population supplies or recycles vel)' lew nutnents In turn
hecause no system of tree plantation has so fill developed to contain
thc process of deforestation. As the human population has grown and
continues to grow, more and more demands are placed upon the forest
rendering any recycling provisions difficult. As the local arable land
gets extended, the forest area shrinks, and the consequent decrease In
fertility brings a decline in the yields. In addition, the reductton of
forest land also narrows down grazing area reducing the fodder
available for the livestock which adversely affects the scope 01
livestock raising.
Population increase in the study area has not only led to the
depletion of forests and Iuelwood, fodder, timber, and grazing
opportunities. Removal of the forest cover has also accelerated soil
erosion. Increasing grain deficiency among the fanners was one
ohvious consequence.
Finally, loss of ground cover due to disappearance of natural
vczetarion also results in a process of aridization (Hoffpauir 1974)
whereby the moisture contained in the soil gradually gets reduced
through evaporation. Besides reducing the immediate fertility of soil,
aridization leaves a longer term impact on the region's climatic
pattern. A relatively low, uncertain rainfall due to irregular start of the
monsoon, observed since a few years, IS one manifestation of
aridization here. In order to maintain a harmonious life pattern, a
balanced relationship between the various components of the local
ecosystem must be maintained. The only alternative would be more
and more ceo-hazards in the future.
CONCLUSION
In an agricultural society like ours, cultural ecology is concerned with
the strategies used to transform the natural environment into a system
for the sustainable generation of natural resources and then to use
these for subsistence and profit. Cultural ecology in this context
becomes the study of adaptive processes by which human societies and
cultures adjust through subsistence patterns to a given
The lack of other alternatives more reliable than agriculture tor earning
a living has affected lands and forests adversely due to the increasing
pressure of population which brings economic and social
of the Rajbanshis solely dependent upon these In certain
respects the migrants have even replaced these people from their nauve
land. As land becomes scarce, Rajbanshis have started to intensity and
I.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
This article is based on the author's fietd material collected for his Masters
degree thesis on the Rajbanshis of Rajgadh VOC of Jhapa in 1993 - March
1994. The fieldwork was funded by the Tribhuvan - Bergen Human Ecology
Programme, Kathmandu.
The author is grateful to Dr. Krishna B. Bhattachan for his helpful comments
and suggestions.
For details on the application of the cultural ecological method to study
different human societies, see Moran (1982); Netting (1980); and Rambo
(1983).
For a more extensive and deruiled understanding of the core and non-core
elements of cultural ecology, see Rambo (1983).
See Sanyal (1965): Berile (198:5); and Bhattarai (1984) for details about the
non-core elements of the Raj banshi culture which basically includes the
Rajbanshi language. religion, art, and values.
See Gurung (19891
See Ojha (1983), and Dahal (1983)
In the festival of MUf{hesuf{w·t.:nti a large amount of goat meat and fish is
consumed and slaughter of 20-30 goats in one Rajbanshi village is common.
Play or drama of the gods such as Ram and Krishna is frequently arranged in
the Rajbanshi village in winter after the crops are harvested. The host
households pay and provide goc.d food to a group of 20-30 participants of the
Lilaand other guests for about u week to fifteen days.
See Bhattarai (1994) for details on the ritual expenses of the Rajbanshis.
74 Occasional Papers
H.P. Bhattarai: Rajbanshis ofRajgadh
75
Central Bureau of Statistics
1991 Statistical Year Book of Nepal. Kathmandu: HMG National
Planning Commission Secretariat.
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Gancsh I Ian Gurung
T e . Kinch en
"111e Rana Tharus live in patrilineal extended households. Brothers
often live together in one household with their wives, unmarri ed
ehildren. married sons with their own fami lies. Thu s, the
hou. chold is a segmenl of a patrilineal descent group. ll1ere may be
several houses around a courtyard sometime. more lhan fifly
people, but as long as they "eat from one kilChcn" , as our infomlfints
PUl it. lhey are seen a, one hou ehold. Another tenn lied for Ihi
social unit is a ghar, which also means house. When one talks anout .
r,fi is th· l:' \\ ith the loam in general. the Rana Tharus have
very lillie studied. arxl knowledge about them i. s rarce,"
-DIU. • in a dillon 10 being an interesting field or anthropological
studi . research on the Rana Tharu , can break new ground f r
p Ii rna .ers as \ ell as on the developing cthni idelllitie . , 10 ·t
irnponant of all. \\ > see our own work as a mu h reeded basi. for
further research on the Rana Tharus,
This paper which focu es on the Rana Thurn in Kailt Ii lux!
Kan hanpur di stri ts in the outhweste rn comer of epal' . elucidate
the role of patrilincage in their ocial y tern, the relation: hip netween
the pcopl • there ard their deit ies. explicat the ignificance of inside
and outsid dichotomy, and explai ns their marriage y tern in terms of
th ir lineage hierarchy.
The area of field work is a pan of the Tcrni. \\ ith its flat
tretchcs of agricultural land and patche of forest", The Rami Tharus
are n w settled farmers, bUI were earlier described as shifti ng
cultivators. Today, thcy grow paddy. wheat, and a variety of lentils and
vege tables. TIley also raise cattle, goat , heep, chicken , and geese . In
addition. fi hing is an important pan of women's work after the
monsoon. Few Rana Tharus are wage-laborers.
KURM PATR ILINEAL SYSTEM

J . AI (;111/"' 1: & T r Kiurlsrn: Kurma, KO/l •• and Kiln 7<)
for example, S1l/1I/l'I/(/ Xlwr or Pipariya ghar. one refers to 'the hou e"
(i.e.. the houschold/patrilincugcj which moved here from Surmeha
village or Pipariya villag . 111e hou ehold run the farm together and
the br the of the patrilinea rc 1' \ n land j inti . When a household
pIit . whether it! a mauer of convenience or due to family tr uble.
and a new hou. ehold i. . tablir hcd, a new branch of kurma
(patrilineagc ) i ' also c atcd ,
suallj . all members of a kunna \\ 11 0 live in one village build
their houses clos 10 ea h th rill the ' arne \ illage quarter. This group
i - the first to he approached for help when. household is in trouble.
but one al 0 unrs n m Ire distam kurma n. u -11 occasi on ' . 111'-:
kurma also play. a r Ie In p viding a taboo-group when it orne. 10
marriage. Thi applie I the whoI . kurma. whether 10. e r di stunt.
The kurma Iso \'0 hips the arne lineage deities. whi h an:
repres ented b sm: II circular ur square bumps ma:Ie of cowdung/rnud
or by ::I wooden peg . These arc located Just outside the entrance 10 the
kit hen (a 10\\ platform] and inside the deity-room (kola) next 10 the
kit hen. B. noti ' ing the ize. hapcv and number of lineage-deities
represented UI ide a h u. e. Ran Tharus an. at least theoretically.
recognize members f a ertain kurma patrilineage). We will come
back 10 the lineage dc iti • - in m re detail helo
In addition I the housch ld' s patrilineagc kunnai. the village
it elf i a ciall y imp rtant unit in this society. Although Rana
Tharu villages. like. II villag in the country. arc organized according
to epali laws on local organization, the also have their own social
and religious leaders. This sy tern of traditional leadership has survived
the Panchayat rule. aod i still w rking in the new poli tical
environ ment after the 19 0 motvc rnent.
The village I' Icr is called a bhalemansa. He is elected by the
kitclteri. a village meeting, where each house (household) is
represented by one male member. If the villager ' are not satisfied with
the services of the bhalemansa, or if he rej ects re-election, they elect a
new one. Some bhulemansas have been continuously in charge of their
villages fur many years. and in some villages the son of a fanner
bhalemansa has been elected. However. the seat of a bhalemansa is
open La anyone who couununds the respect and confidence of the
villagers. bhalcmansa has the lust wurd on village matters, hUl
problems arc discussed in the kilcheri (lhe village meeting) before a
final deci sion is made.
A village dlOllk i(/al' is eleCllXl on the same principles ali the
hluzlell/allsa. He i. the mes engel' of the village. and is responsible for
impl ementing the de isions tUld plans of the bhale11l11llS0 and Ihe
kircheri. such as organizing TOad mainlenance and olher village wor k.
SO Orrustonu! P(lpcFS
The choukidar is also trained by the gauthehara (village shaman/priest)
in performing village rituals in his absence. and is responsible for
preparing the rituals, i.c .. collecting or buying what is needed IIJr the
f!ooja. In at least two of the villages we visited. the choukular a
Dangora Tharu. It was obviously not seen as a problem that he
worshipped Rana Tharu deities on behalf of the Rana Tharu villauers.
although he worshipped his own Dangora Tharu deities at home.
In a Rana Tharu village there may he many hha17<L1". or local
healers, while there is only one gau/hellam, i.c., main village
shaman/priest". 111e gauthehara is chosen by the village meeting,
kitchen, because of his good reputation a, a shaman/priest <mel can he
replaced if his services arc not considered satisfactory.
In big poojas. where more than one ritual official is needed, the
local bharras may assist the choukidar. However. the bharras I.h not
usually have anything to ITJ with village level worship. They are
healers rather than priests, and arc approached by the villagers
individually when somebody is Ill. Rana Tharu bharras arc sometimes
used by other ethnic groups, and Rana Tharus also usc Dangora Tharu
or pahari healers.
KOLA COSMOLOGY: RELATION BETWEEN PEOPLE
AND DEITIES
As we have mentioned in the introduction, the relationship between
the Rana Tharus and their deities is what they consider extremely
important. We will describe some aspects and areas of life where this
can he seen quite clearly.
firstly, the relationship to the deities is important with regard
to the house and the lineage. In fact, what constitutes a Rana Tharu
house as such is the location of a certain set of deities. This is in
congruence with McDonaugh's observation among the Dangora
Tharus. He writes: ..... the presence of these deities identifies a house
as such. Without them, the building is not a proper house at all for
the Tharus" (McDonaugh in Barnes/de Copper/Parkin 19X5: 184). We
have mentioned thal a household may well consist of more than one
building, hut it is nevertheless called 'one house' (gharv. Now, the
building which contains the household's deity room (kola) and kitchen
(rosaiyai is also called a 'house' (ghar). As we see it, this is the house;
the other huildings me called pal It is this house which is built
according to cosmological principles, with the two purest and most
important rooms, the kola and the kitchen (rosaiya) , to the north. The
north is cosmologically important because it is known as 'the abode
of the gods'. This notion is shared between the Rana Tharus and the
Dangma Tharus (cf. Krauskopff 19R7) and Hindu societies in general".
..
i, M. (;Ul"IIlIg & t.c. Ki1ldH'1I.' Kurma, Kulll, IIl1d Kuri gI
When set.ting up a new building, whether ghar (with deity-mom) or
pal, the fIrs! pillar IS offered a pooja before the building can start.
Thus, the deities arc included in the buildinu of the house from the
start. When a new ghar is built. the ritual is elaborate, since the
lineage deities ikurma deuta; have to 'move into the house' before the
people thcmscl vcs can start cooking or livi ng there. In other words.
the deities have to he installed in a house before the house is seen as
lit lor human heings. Some of the kurma deities have their scats in the
kola. while others arc placed just outside the northern entrance. All of
them are freshly made (of mud/cowdungj when a new house is built,
and they rccci ve a {iooja at the blioura khanc ritual. which can he taken
as a 'house warming' ritual. On this occasion, family and neighbors
arc also gIven a meal. Only after this ritual is performed, and one has
done one's duty to the deities and co-villagers, can the family move in.
. The lineage as such also has a special relationship to a certain
set 01 deities, and the members of a patrilineal descent group tkurma;
worship the same kurrna deities. This means that all households in the
kurntu have the same gods and goddesses in the kola and outside the
door (e.g.. Parvati, Ninuliun, Nagurihai. Durga, Bishahar. and Karivai,
and that they worship thcm according to the same rules. Each kurnia
gl\es specific offerings to their various deities on speci fie occasions,
such as fcsti vals and life-cycle rituals. All the deities d) not 'eat' the
same thing; rather they receive pooja according to their individual
need: The ritual official In each household (the eldest man or woman)
propitiates the deities on behalf of the household. In this 'Nay, one can
see that the relationship to a certain constellation of deities is that
which un ires members of the same kurma. This is the way in which
Rana Tharus talk ahout kurma membership, for example, with regard
to murrrage. A girl would not say that "I cannot marry him because he
IS my cousin", hut rather "I cannot malTY him because we have the
same deilles".
. Secondly. the relationship to the deities is important on the
village level as well. Just as each kurma has its own constellation of
deities, so docs each Rana Tharu village have its own deities. with
their representations in the village shrine (bhuivai. The shrine plays an
important role in village life, and we will desc;'ihe it in some detail.
. Although the villages may vary in shape and size, they all have
a village shrine to the south of the village settlement, usually close to
a pccpal tree. There no building; only an opcn flat square plastered
With cowdung/mud and sometimes with a wooden or tile-roofing, This
shrine contams representations of deities which arc worshipped by all
villagers, regardless of kurntu membership. The deities are represented
by small Circular or square bumps of cowdung/mud. much like the
ones outside each house. or hy a wooden peg. Bhuiva is the name or
the shrine. hut bhuiv« itself is also considered a female deity,
somettmcs explained as having a male counterpart.
Som,: or the deities in the bhuivc: arc the same 'LS the kurnia -
specific deities (such ,LS Patvati and NuguoJiai). willie others (such ,LS
Saat Hhf/H·WIi'. Mari. Patchaua. cUld Langura) arc only round in the
bhuiva. In addition to the deities. people deify lucal shamans (bharras».
local heroes 'U"C also worshipped in the bhuiva. In a lew L·ases.
1)()()JrIS arc performed just outside the bhuiya area. ;uld we were told
that these /)(){)jus arc for certain hh ut: (spints) rather than deities.
It IS intcrcsung to note that village deities t1lJ longer receive
blood sncrilicc. The VIllagers claimed that the deities did not mind this.
as long as they were askccl heforehand whether they would accept the
·suhSlitu\(:s'. The reason for this change ttl worship practice. according
to S0111e 'If our informants. was that animal sacrifice had become too
expensive. It is tempting to sec this as an adaption to caste Hindu
customs. 'Nc will C0111e back to this issue al the end ul the paper.
The importance of the bhuiva stems from the fact that It IS seen
as necessary for the well-being of the people cUld the protection of the
villauc One informant described it ax 'the foremost place'. i.c., the
founZbtll1l1 place of the village. which had to he established before
people could sculc in the area. Another informant claimed that the
Rana Tharus could definitely not have been semi-nomadic earlier.
simply because "once a bhuiyu IS cstuhlisbcd, it cannot he moved".
When referring to the hhuivu in the way. the Rana Tharus arc. of
course. not referring to the bhuiva as an area. hut to the deities which
arc seen 'lS inhabiting this area. Lstahli,hing a bhuiva means giving
the deities a place to stay 111 the VIllage. Without the deities. the
village urea is not protected and cannot be inhabited by people. One
informant emphasized that the vi liagcrs would die. if there was no
!JJII/iva in a vii lagc,
This is similar to what Krauskoptf (in L'Ethnographic 19K7:
Ij I j describes among the Dangora Tharus of Dang, where she notes
that the creation of a village shrine is a \vay of " ... setting hounds to
the wandering spirits of the xiu: within the limits of the dwelling-
area". She describes the boundaries of the Village 'LS "symbols of a
power-struggle hetween men. represented by the priest, and the spirits
of the area" (ibid I j I ). This, we behcvc, also holds true for the Rana
Tharu village shrine. although there are differences in Dangora and
Rana Tharu religion and cosmology.
The maintenance of a good relationship wi th the protective
VIllage deities is considered so Important in Runa Tharu society that a
special person is given the respon;;ihility of doing this on behalf of
(, s: (;/IJ'I{lIg & TC K,III·!"·II. Kurma. Ko/". "tid Kiln
the villagers. We have described earlier how this responsibility is
shared between the gauthehara and the choukidar. Thus, one might say.
the deities arc given a place in the sucial structure of each Rana Thnru
village. in that their propitiation IS seen as a pan of the responsibility
of the village leaders. Further, the functioning of the village
organization secures proper performance of village rituals. and thus the
best possible relationship to the duties. in that the ritual officiant can
be replaced if his work is not considered good enough.
If there IS a lot of trouble 111 a VIllage (quarrels. tightings.
illness. epidemics, ctc.), this is often seen ,is a sIgn that the village
deities arc not 'satisfied' for some rcaxun. In one of the villages we
visited. the bhalemansa told us that the deities In the 111111iyo (village
shrine) <U"C bigger than the ones people have in their house. and that
when the gauthcham comes to the village in order to recreate peace and
order in times of trouhle. he will only worry about the 'mood' of the
village deities. not the various kurnu: deities. "If the deities get angry.
there will he trouble (!Jod/l/o.l) in the village!" This may happen when
the proscribed village rituals are performed. and the gauthellam may
suggest yet another pooj« in order to recreate a balanced relationship
between the people and the deities who protect them.
Thirdly. the importance of the relationship with the deities
becomes apparent in some or the wedding rituals. We will give a few
examples:
As a part of the preparatory rites. in the morning on the day
before the wedding. the father of the bride and the father of the groom
perform the Banaspati pooja, each in their respective vi llages. This is
a pooja given to Banaspati, the gcddcss of the forest. It is performed
close (0 the village. under a sal tree. Accompanied by seven (in the
groom's ULSC) or five (in the bride's case) male members of the
Kurilla. the officiant offers ghcc (clarified butter), sweets.•md cloves
on a ritual tire taghian; under the tree. sprinkles water around it, and
does namaskara. Cation thread, colored yellow with turmeric powder,
is tied five or seven times around the tree toward the right. Gila and
sweets are later distributed as prasad. After the worship, some wood is
cut, and with this WLXx! one lights the lire If)! cooking puri (wheat
breads fired in for the wedding.
Here. the participation hy the deities is needed for the wedding
to he successful. No food is cooked lor the wedding before Banaspati
has received offerings, seen as a right due to her as one of the deities of
the area inhabited by the Rana Tharus. As we interpret it, she then
"answers" hy giving (symhulically) the fuel needed lor the preparation
of food for the wedding.
X4
(7. M. Gurung & T (' Kittelsen: Kurilla, Kola. and Kuri 85
A 1)(J{);a abo has to he done in the house, where the kurm«
deities receive some of the PII/i.\', i.c .. the first food made for the
wedding. Then the deities in the village shrine (bhuivai also receive a
pooja. In the afternoon. on the day before the wedding, the mothers of
the bride and the groom. in their respective villages, go With the
vdlage choukid(lr (or lither ritual officiant) to lkl this P001U at the
village shrine to the south of the villagc. All the deities represented
there have their stlian ("seat', i.c .. their rcprcscmauon l plastered with
fresh cowdung before receiving the offering of puris', together with
glll'l', spices. sliarbat (sweet water), etc.
This is the last of the preparatory rites before wedding. Now all
deities have received offerings, and will protect people and participate
In wedding. At the bhuiva, even 'unknown' bhuts (sprits) receive
offerings II] Thus, no supernatural beings 1I1 the vicinity are left out on
this occasion.
INSIDE-OllTSIDE DICHOTOMY
The Rana Tharus themselves do not refer III the 'insidcroutsidc'
lhchotomy explicitly. so this should not he seen ,LS an ethnic term.
However. we see this dichotomy present in many situations in regard
to various aspects of social and religious life. We will try 10 show
how it is made relevant at the cosmological level. in the household
and wedding rituals. The dichotomy is manifest where one slate is
considered in many ways better. purer. safer or more proper than the
other.
On the village level. this dichotomy becomes evident when we
look at the relationship bet ween the villagers and the people. Since the
village IS seen as an area protected hy its deities. the outside of the
village is. ohviousl y. less safe than the inside. Or. in other words,
one's own village is seen ,L, the safest. One has estahlished a
relationship with the deities inside the village. and can count on their
protection. II" one wanders around too much 'outside' (hahira), said a
Raila Tharu, it would not he surprising if one gets ill. The illness may
well he caused by the bhut of the "outside'.
The same is reflected 111 the term used for the bhuiya by one of
our informants. He mentioned it as 'the entering point' of the village.
As we understood it, this has nothing to dl with where people enter
the village, hut refers to the fact that evil spirits arc believed to enter
the village from the south. Thus, thcy'will encounter the deities in the
bhuiva. which is always situated to the south of the village
settlement. and. hopefully. he stopped hy them. The evil sprits of the
'outside' are stopped from entering 'inside' by the del tics, who arc part
of the villagc "insiders".
As we have already mentioned, there is a deity-room (kola) in
every 'house' (ghnr). In contrast to the world outside. this room is the
innermost space of the house. Only kurma members, whom we chose
to call 'insiders' here, can enter this room. All others, i .C., non-
members of the kurma and thus 'outsiders', would pollute the room
and make the deities angry if they ever enter this area. The term
'insider' includes all male members of the patrilineage and their
unmarried daughters. In Rana Tharu society, it also includes the
unmarried women. Those, who arc allowed imide the kola, either have
the same lineage or have the same identification to the lineage deities.
The custom under which the in-married women arc allowed into the
kola and to participate in rituals for the kurma deities is not common
among the Dangora Tharus. This practice shows the special status of
Rana Tharu women compared to the women of many other groups on
the subcontinent. We will come hack to this in our section on the
marriage system.
The inside/outside dichotomy is also relevant on many
occasions during the wedding rites. When the Marra has been to the
house of the bride a few days before the wedding in order to 'see the
deities' (deuta dekhani, and has found everything to be OK, the girl is
not allowed outside her house until the wedding day. This was
explained to us as a sign of shyness: "If she walks around outside, she
is not shy. But, then people wil1 talk behind her back". However, we
were also told that she could not risk the trouble from the 'spirits of
the outside'. Here, we see the inside/outside dichotomy reflected once
again. The inside of the house is seen as a protected area; and
especially with such a hig event as a wedding coming up, the girl
must be cautious.
The food needed for the wedding party' I has to be brought from
the outside of the house, and it must be the kurma's own production.
Samples of all the foodstuff have to he blessed by one of the local
bharras before these can he used for cooking. This, we were told by the
bharra as he was blowing his mantras (protective spells) on the
various items, is done in order to guard off the spirits which might
have heen imbibed in the food. Only after the spirits from the outside
are driven away for sure, arc these items considered fit for wedding
dinner.
The notion of 'insiders' and 'outsiders' is also relevant with
regard to the groom's arrival at the bride's house on the wedding day.
He and his party arc 'outsiders'. and although they are welcome as
honored guests after a while, at the outset they arc 'stopped'
symbolically from entering the courtyard of the bride's house. This is
usually done three times; first by the choukidar (village watchman!
86 Occasional Papers
G. M Gurung &: Fe Kittelsen: Kurmu. Kola, and Kurt 87
messenger), who is hired for fetching water, etc. at the wedding; then
by the karbariyha (women from the village who help with cooking,
cleaning pots, etc. at the wedding); and then by the younger sisters of
the bride. As we see it. these people are all representing the 'inside' -
either the village or the patrilineage of the bride's father". They ask
for a small sum of money before they let the groom and his party pass
in. In this way, the difference between the 'inside' and the 'outside', as
well as the bringing together of two lineages at marriage. is
symbolically referred to.
The groom is stopped again when he is on his way into the
kola (deity-room) in his own house on the day after the wedding ritual
(in the girl's house). His sisters stop him this time. and they will not
let him pass with his new wile "until they are given a cow". (Usually,
however. they give up after being promised a small amount of
rnoney.) This time it is he who hrings someone from the 'outside',
i.c., the girl, who was, until the wedding ceremony. a member of her
own father's lineage.
The fact that the bride, after this ritual, is actually allowed into
the deity-room of her new house signifies that she is accepted 'inside'.
Not only is she accepted, but it will be her duty from now on to
respect the deities of her husband's lineage. Before anything else, she
has to how to these kurma deities, both outside and inside, and only
then can the rest of the rituals in the groom's house start. In her
parents' house, she has now become an 'outsider'. When the main
wedding ritual is finished, she has been 'transferred' to her husband's
kurma (lineage), and cannot enter her previous kurma's kola (deity-
room) again.
When the groom arrives in his own village together with the
bride and the wedding party, a pooja has to be performed at the village
border before they are let in. This pooja, we were told, is for the bhut
(spirits) rather than for the deities. The spirits of the outside could
follow the wedding party inside the village, if they are not warded off
b
hi . 11
Yt IS pOOja '.
The first aspect, i.e., the importance of the relationship
between the people and their deities can lead to or he responsible for
the second aspect, namely, the significance of distinction between
'inside' and 'outside' connection of a person. That which is within the
realm of the deities, either the kurma deities or the village deities, is
seen as having some kind of added value!
MARRIAGE SYSTEM
In this part of the paper, we look closer at the marriage system of the
Rana Tharus in terms of their lineage system.

,
Marriage "refers to a polythetic class of phenomena", according
to Needham (1971b:5, cit. Cornaroff). Anthropologists have hal
difficulties in finding a universally applicable definition of the term.
This is so because "the cross-cultural variability in the social
organization of gender relations and the existence of rare forms of
marriages in specific societies render such definitions invalid"
(Seymour-SmithlMacmillan 1986: 179). The term covers a great
variation of different practices and ideas linked to the creation of a new
bond between two persons and their respective families.
Fruzzctti (1990: xix) writes that "for Hindu society, marriage is
central to the social order", and that "love-marriage unites two
individuals. whereas a Hindu marriage unites the son and the daughter
of two lines". In Asian societies in general, whether Hindu or not, a
marriage relationship has greater importance for more people than it
has in the West. Among the Rana Tharus. we would claim, in addition
to the creation of good future for the couple and the creation of
children, the most important aspect of marriage is to create a long
lasting, mutually beneficial, and halanced relationship between the two
families.
We see marriage customs as adapted to a specific social and
religious reality, and, therefore, ,LS important carriers of information
about this reality. This view of marriage as a 'mirror' of important
aspects of society is, of course, received wisdom in anthropology and
not our invention. It also corresponds broadly to Bennett's view on
marriage among the Brahmans/Chhetries of Narikot:
marriage (also) reveals a great deal about the relative status of men and
women, and about the structures of caste and kinship.
(Bennett 1983: 71)
In Rana Tharu society, they have a betrothal system, 11U!f:ani
14,
where children down to the age of four or five can he ' r e s e r v ~ d ' for
marriage with a certain person when they reach the marriageahle age".
The most common way of inaugurating a magani relationship is
through the help of a majpativa, i.e., a marriage broker. Both women
and men can be majpatiyas. but people insist that they have to be
respected persons who arc on good terms with everybody. There is
usually one majpativa on the girl's side and another on the boy's side.
Any friend, villager, or a family member can take the role of a
mediator, but some persons arc known to have been majpatiyas for
many magani relations and to have good information about available
boys and girls in the VIcinity. Hasan (1993) mentions that such
majpatiyas are approached by the parents of eligible boys and girls and
are asked to propose a suitable match. "He is continuously in search of
i
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II
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Occasional Papers
girls who want to leave their husband for one reason or another (and)
keeps a mental list of such girls" (ihid. 59).
The Rana Tharus ill not usc an astrologer for comparing the
two parties before a marriage process can start. It is the responsibility
of the majpatiya to see to it that the two families match, i.c., first of
all, to ensure that the alliance is socially acceptable,
Traditionally, the Rana Tharus have been group-endogamous.
Although they have been seen as 'backward' by others, they
themselves claim to have a status superior to other groups, and have
not allowed marriage outside the group. This rule of group-endogamy
seems to be losing its grip though. There are now quite a few
examples of Rana Tharus marrying Dangora Tharus and Paharis. Such
marriages are usually 'love- marriages' , i.c. they are entered into by
the boy and girl without planning and arrangements made by their
parents. These marriages arc talked about in derogatory terms by some
Rana Tharus, and may not be accepted in the beginning by the boy's
or girl's families. However, it seems that the couple is accepted after
some time, and there is no strong social stigmatization of such mixed
marriages, As one informant put it: Biha Rare sakyo, bachha pani
bhavo. ke game ta! (They are already married. and have children as
well; what could one now do about it").
The Rana Tharus do not allow marriage between people of the
.sarne patrilineage (kurma), as we have already mentioned, i.c., people
who "have the same deities", This goes back seven generations on the
father's SIde and three on the mother's side, Hasan (1993) writes that a
relationship between a boy and a girl of the same kurma is not at all
possible to regularize, and that the couple would become outcasts for
ever. This strict lineage-exogamy is still valid.
While being lineage-exogamous, the Rana Tharus are
traditionally kuri - endogamous. The kuris are best explained by using
an example,
Among the Rana Tharus, as well as among the Dangora
Tharus, some houses are huilt in the reverse (ultha) order of the
'normal' design, These houses have their kitchen to the south instead
of the north, McDonaugh claims that this is the practice of certain
clans among the Dangora Tharus of Dang, and that these clans arc not
seen as socially inferior to other clans in this society (McDonaugh in
Barnes/de Coppet/Parkin !9R5: 186). In Rana Tharu society, however,
they arc definitely seen as socially inferior. This is reflected in
statements like: "No other kuri would ever marry an Ulthawa"
This is where the term kuri becomes significant. We arc not
really sure that the kuris are clans. All Rana Tharu lineages seem to
belong to certain kuris, but our informants never explained these
T
r: M. (;111"11111.{ ,11 T C Kntcisen. Kurmu, Kilili. and Kun
social units to us III terms of a common ancestry. The kuris create a
social hierarchy, perhaps akin to the caste-system. since the single
units seem to he classified after diet and other practices. indicating the
degree of purity as the principle of classification. These conclusions,
we have to admit, arc drawn from a rather uncertain set of data, But. so
far. this seems most intelligible to us.
It was interesting to note that some of the people we talked to
denied that they belonged to any specific kuri. "We are all Rana
Tharus". they said, However. when we mentioned this episode to some
other people in the village. they smiled and said that "there is no
wonder why they would not tell you their kuri name; they arc shy".
indicating that these people belonged to a low kuri. In denying
membership to a low kiln. these people were trying to avoid
stigmatization. Quigley describes the same phenomenon among
diaspora Newars. where people of lower caste seem to 'forget" their
ancestor's clan name, "There is little doubt that this obliteration of
caste distinctions. producing greater fluidity in marriage alliances was,
and remains. a common practice In diaspora Newar settlements".
writes Quigley (!lJX6: 7X}. Although not a common practice in Rana
Tharu society. the development of such strategies may he a sign of
changes to come,
Our informants were not sure of the number of kuris, nor did
anyone Jist exactly the same names 1(', What they did emphasize was
that one should, ideally. marry within one's own kuri. A few of the
lower kuris arc said to intermarry, but we will still describe the Rana
Tharu marriage system as isogamous, i.c .. they practise marriage
between people of the same status, This kuri - endogamy is not rigid.
however, but our informants claimed that it was more rigid earlier.
While dowry is common in most (Hindu) groups around them,
the Rana Tharus have a bride-price system, There is a correlation
between marriage payments and other features of social organization,
Among the Rana Tharus. the fact that they arc traditionally isogamous
and the fact that women in this society are not seen having less (ritual)
value than men have may account for the bride-price practice, The
lineages of the bride and the groom are seen as socially equals (having
the same kuri) and ritually equals (there is no difference between wife-
givers and wife-takers), Thus, it can be seen as logical that the one
who receives something (the groom's family receives a woman)
should also give away something
17
• "These payments serve to
legitimize marriage relationships at the same time as they signify or
mark the transfer of rights in women and/or children" (Seymour-
Smith/Macmillan 1986: 142).
90 Occasional Papers
1
G. M. Gurung &Te. Kittelsen: KuI"IIW, Kola. and Kuri 91
The wedding payments do not only include a sum of money
paid by the groom's family at the time of the wedding, but also sweets
and other gifts given throughout the magani years. From the
inauguration of the magani relationship until approximately a year
before the wedding, the boy's family has to give certain prescribed
varieties of sweets and other gifts at certain intervals IX. This practice
knits the two families together and the gifts are seen , L ~ a part of the
marriage payment. This is reflected in the fact that a sum equaling the
price of the sweets has to be paid back to the boy's family if the girl
or her family breaks the relationship.
Rana Tharu women can break off a magani, but then she must
find another man whom she can marry, and who is willing to pay back
the magani price. She can also leave her husband for another man,
without being socially stigmatized. Although the picture painted by
some writers of the 'liberated' Rana Tharu women is not correct, it is
a fact that they have a social and ritual status quite different from that
of women in some of the other groups in the South Asian
subcontinent. We will make a comparison with the Dangora Tharus
again, who are, in many ways, their closest neighbors.
Krauskopff writes that in-married women have an ambiguous
status among the Dangora Tharus of Dang, since they are marginal to
their husband's patrilineal unit (in L'Ethnographic 1987: 154). The
Dangora Tharus do not entertain the orthodox Hindu ideas about
women who have been perceived as ritually unclean by the latter group
hecause of their physiology". This, claims Krauskopff, is the
marginality to the husband's kurma which makes them ambiguous.
This ambiguity makes them unfit for participation in kurma deity
worship in her husband's kurma, and girls are also not allowed to
participate in these rituals in their father's house before marriage.
In Rana Tharu society, the in-married women do take part In
the worship of the kurma deities. In some lineages (namely those with
a female main deity), the women are even responsible for doing pooja
to the household deities. In these lineages, ritual knowledge is passed
on from a woman to her eldest daughter-in-law. There is no rule for
excluding unmarried girls from participating in the household rituals,
as far as we could observe. The women also take part in certain rituals
at the village shrine, although they only perform the rituals
themselves in the bhuiya pooja before the wedding of their children.
CONCLUSION
We hope that this paper can stimulate further research on the issues
taken up here. The first part of the paper, took up certain aspects of
the social and religious life of the Rana Tharus which reflect implicit
4
I
1
notions and ideas in their society. These are, firstly, the notion of the
deities as protectors of the people and village, and therefore the
necessity of including them in all aspects of life. This makes the
relationship between the people and their deities a basic one, both
within each kurma, i.e., patrilineage, and at the village level.
Secondly, the concept that the 'inside' is different from 'outside' is an
underlying idea in this society. This goes for the inside/outside of the
house as well as the village, and has connections to cosmology. This
dichotomy also becomes relevant at a more abstract level. with regards
to lineage membership.
In the context of explicating how these characteristics cut
across the spheres of family live, village life, and cosmology, wedding
rituals were used as a particular example. The Rana Tharus have
elaborate wedding rituals which reflect, In many ways, the
characteristics of their society mentioned above. In the last part of this
paper, some aspects of the Rana Tharu marriage system were
discussed, in the context of the kurma and kuri hierarchy and the status
of Rana Tharu women. In that context, it was also ohvious that while
Rana Tharu women are definitely very different in some ways from
other women in the area, their life is a far cry from the picture of the
former princesses of Rajasthan pushing their husbands' plates with
their feet.
NOTES
I. This paper was presented at the Conference on "Nepal: Terai Cultures,
Democracy and Development" (June 9-11. 1995) organized by the
Norwegian Institute for International Affairs in Oslo.
2. The Tharu population has been mentioned in various books from the last
century, and studied by Srivastava. Mathur. Majumdar, and others in between
the forties and sixties. In these early materials Tharus arc seen as far more
homogenous than has later been acknowledged. Recent literature on the
Tharus (ef. Rajaure, McDohaugh. Krauskopff) has concentrated on the
Dangora Tharus. The Rana Tharus are only explicitly dealt with in the works
of Gurung and Skar, as well as by Hasan in his book "Affairs of an Indian
Tribe" (1993). This hook is the only monograph on the Rana Tharus. But it
deals with the Rana population in Uttar Pradesh. India.
3. Gancsh M. Gurung has done field work among the Tharus in 1989 and in
I993!'J5. His last field work was financed by the Norwegian Research
Council. Tove C. Kittelson is an MA student of social anthropology at the
University of Oslo. Her field work in 1993/94 was financed by NIAS, The
Norwegian Research Council, Statens Liinekasse for Utdanning, and The
University of Oslo. Her field work in 1995 was financed by the Norwegian
Research Council.
4. The Rana Tharus live in the districts of Kailali and Kanchanpur in Nepal and
in parts of Uttar Pradesh in India. The national horder between the two
countries runs through Rana Tharu community zone, but Rana Tharu culture
is very similar on both sides of the border.
5. The Rana Tharus have no images or figures to represent their deities. At both
the house and village levels, the deities are represented hy simple
cowdunglmud humps (or, in some cases, a small wooden peg). Often they
have no representation at all. On many occasions. the offerings arc simply
92 Occasional Papers
G. M. Gurung & 'LC. Kittelsen: Kurma, Kola, and Kuri 93
6.
7.
8.
9.
10
I\.
12.
13
14.
15.
16
17
18.
19
done at a spot on the floor/ground which is cleaned with water or
cowdung/rnud first. .
Despite the differences between them in status and practice. the gauthehura
is often also called bharra.
Only a few of our informants referred to the Hindu representations of the
mountain Kailash as the 'abode of the gods'. However, the notion of the north
as a location indicating an upward direction (cf Krauskopff .1987) as the
direction of the mountains. and a place which some of the deities VISIt when
they 'go away' part of the year, was clearly present.
Our informants distinguished these 'Seven SIsters' as Durga. Kalinuua.
Gahibi, Haniula, Situla, Ganga. and Hulka.
The Rana Tharus have two wedding seasons. In the first wedding season
(Dec./Jan.), the deities are offered puris. as are the wedding guests, while
both the deities and the guests are offered malida (rice flour fried 111 I'hee) 111
the second season (Feb.zlvlarch).
This is done in the field next to the bhuiya. At the end, the rest of the offerings
are thrown "in all directions" to bhuts with no names, we were told.
A group of people accompanying the groom to the bride's house. .
Her younger sisters are unmarried, who thus still belong to their father's
lincaze
The ;pirits receive alcohol. spices, water, ghee. etc., and at the end of the
ritual. one of the wedding guests runs around the whole group of people
zuthered there ("while holding his breath") with an egg m hIS hand. ThIS egg
fs then thrown away, together with two small figures made of dough (said to
represent the bride and the groom). . " ..
The term refers both to the system of betrothal and to the male/female fiance.
We were also told that some people would make an agreement even before
the birth of their children that their children would be ritual friends (I'unjlmit)
if they arc of the same sex, and magunis (fiances) if they are of the opposite
sex.
Some of the names of the kuris arc: Thakur, Bishiena, Balla, Kipta Balla,
Badaivak. Giri. and Dangru. .
This was seen as obvious to our informants, who did not see their own
practice of bride-price as 'selling a daughter', as one hillman put it. On the
contrary, a young educated Rana Tharu girl said that the dowry practice
could be seen as 'buying a husband'. .. .
That is, this pattern is followed in the proper/big maganis t acchu maganis,
while there is a possibility of doing less elaborate ntuals t chilam maganii
according to the economical status of the boy's family.
The Rana Tharus are SImilar to the Dangora Tharus in this respect.
Fruzzetti, L.M.
1990 (1982)
Gellner, D.N.
1989
Hasan, A.
1993
Krauskoppf, G.
1987
Lecornte-Tilouine, M.
1993
McDonnaugh, C.
1985
Seymour-Smith, C.
1986
Quigley, D.
1986
The Gift or a Yirgin: Women, Marriage and Ritual in a
Bengali Society. Delhi: Oxford University Press, Oxford
India Paperbacks.
"Hinduism, Tribalism and the Position of Women: The
Problem of Newar Cultural Identity" (Draft for Conference
on Language, Literature and Cultural Identity in Nepal,
SOAS)
Affairs ofan Indian Tribe: The Story or My Tharu Relatives.
Lucknow.
"Le naissance de un village Tharu", L'Ethnographie.
"About Bhume; a Misunderstanding in the Himalayas", G.
Toffin (ed.): Nepal: Past and Present. CNRS; New Delhi:
Sterling Publishers, pp. 127, 135.
"The Tharu House; Opposition and Hierarchy", Barnes/de
Coppet! Parkin (eds.): Contexts and Levels. Oxford: JASO
Occasional Papers, Vol. 4, pp. 181, 192.
Macmillan Dictionarv or Anthropology. Hong Kong:
Macmillan Press Ltd ...
"Introversion and Isogamy: Marriage Patterns of the
Ncwars of Nepal", Contributions to Indian Sociology. XX
(I), pp. 75-95.
REFERENCES
Bennett, L.
1983
Buggeland, A.
1994
Comaroff, J.L. (ed.)
1980
Dungerous Wives and Sacred Sisters: Social and Symbolic
Roles ofHigh Caste Women in Nepal. New York: Columbia
University Press.
"Kali Worship among the Santals of Nepal: Hinduization
and Ethnic Boundaries", M. Allen (cd.): Anthropology or
Nepal: Peoples, Problems and Processes. Kathmandu:
Mandala Book Point.
The Meaning of Marriage Payments. London: Academic
Press.
INDEX

Aali 62
Aashari Ghasari 60
Adhyan 64
Aghiari 84
Assam 26
Assimilation Theory 23
Awadhi 20
Badmas 83
Bahira 85
Baje-Bajai Pooja 42
Ban Jhankri Pooja 43
Banaspati 84
Banaspati Pooja 84
Barha Magarat 39.47
Beskang Bajai Pooja 42
Bhaijeri 44
Bhalemansa 79. 80. 83
Bhar 56. 73
Bharras 80, 82. 86
Bheja 39,51
Bheja Khelne 49
Bhith 63,69
Bhojpuri 20
Bhoura Khane ritual 81
Bhuiya 82-85, 93
Bhuiya Pooja 92
Bhumi 43
Bhumi Dan 76
Bhut 85,87
Biaj Marauni 64
Bir Nernbang 27
Bishaliar 81
Bodo/Boro/Bara 55
Bossila 62
Burundi I
Canada I
Catalonia 8
Chewar 47
Choukidar 80, 83. 84, 86
Chura 67
Citizenship Certificate 29
Collective identity formation 2, 4, 6, 13
Dalits 28
Damai 57
Dangora Tharu 80, 81, 86, 89, 91, 92,
94
Dao 62
Darjeel ing 26
Deoniya 57
Deuta dekhan 86
Dhangni 62
Dhanhar 63
Dhikuri 41
Dhimal 23,24
Dhokra 63
Dhuki 76
Dini 64
Dom 22
Durga 81,93
Dusadh 22
Ethnic Reconscientization 18
Ethnicization 25
Free Tibet Movement 26
French Revolution 5, 7
Ganesh 57
Gauthehara 80, 83, 84,93
Ghar 79,81,85
Ghee 84,93
Global ecumene 6, 15
Gopal Khambu 27
Gorkhanization 24, 33
Gurkha expansionism 24
Guthi 41
Habsburg Empire 5
Hal 53,60
Hasuwa 62
Hauli 66
Hill Matwalis 57
Hinduization II
Hindukush-Himalaya I
Human Rights Commission 28
IL028
Indra 60
INGO(s) 48
International Decade for the World's
Indigenous People 29, 34-36, 38
Ireland I
Jaad 40,45-47
Jaari 46
Index
Jadan 20
Jhangar 22
Jotar 62
Kachaura 45
Kachiya 62
Kadisiruwa 60
Kalwar 57
Kami 57
Karbariyha 86
Kariya 81
Khambuan 20
Khambuan ko Awa) 27
Khasan 20
Khesari 68
Khetipati 53
Khoria 45
Khutti 62
Koch/Koche 55
Kochila 20
Kodal 53,60,61
Kola 78, 81, 85-87
Kurali 62
Kuri 78, 89, 90, 92
Kurma '.I' kola 87
Kurma 78,79,81-87,89,90,92
Kurma deuta 81
Langura 82
Law of Least Effort 66
Laxmi Prasad Devkota 24
Lilais) 53,58, 73
Limbuan Mukti Morcha 27
Limbuan 20
Madhesrya 24,27,30
Magani 88,91, 93, 94
Magar 57
Magarat 20
Maghesakaranti 60
Main Dhare 43
Maithil20
Malaha 57
Mana 46
Mandali Baje-Bajai Poo)a 42
Mantras 86
Micro-economic niches 67
Mixed cropping 68, 75
Moai 62
Mono-cropping 75
Mukhiya 41-43,46
Multi-cropping 66, 75
Multi-cultural democracy 7, 12
Muluki Ain 25
Muri 67
Musahar 22
Muslim 57
Mustang 26
Musuri 68
Myth of homogeneity 5
Nagarihai 81, 82
Namaskara 84
Nari 82
National Democratic Party 22
National integration 17, 18, 23, 24, 27,
30
Natley 43
Nepal Bandh 29
Nepal Communist Party - UML 22, 30
Nepal lana Party 20
Nepal lanajati Mahasangh 19,27,30,34,
36,37
Nepal lanajati Party 20, 28, 33
Nepal Rastriya lana Mukti Morcha 28
Nepal Sadvabana Party 31,32,36-38
Nepali Congress Party 22, 30
Nepalization 23,24
New Guinea 39, 50
Newar 57
NGO(s) 48
Nigeria I
Niradhar 81
Pahadiyas 25
Pahur 47
Pal 81
Pana 69
Panch Kanya Mai Poo)a 42, 43
Parange Poo)a 42
Parima 44
Parvati 81, 82
Passini 62
Patchaua 82
Peepal tree 82
Poojats) 42, 43
Praja Bikas Karyakram 22
Prasad 84
Principle of ownership by birth 59
Prithvi Narayan Shah 20, 23, 33
Proto-nations 6

I
Puri 84
Quebec 1
Rai 57,71,72
Raikar 63
Rajbanshi 52,54-70,74,77
Ra)gadh 52,56,57,61,73,74
Raksi 40, 46, 47
Rangsiruwa 60
Rashtra-Bhasha 19,22, 24, 28-30
Rassi 63
Rastriya Swayamsevak Sangh 26
Rastriya-Bhashaharu 19
Raute 22
Right to Self-Determination 28,33,38
Rights of Indigenous People 29
Rodi 47
Ropahar 66
Rosaiya 81
Rwanda I
Saat Bhawani 82
Sadvabana Parishad 27
Saha 57
Sanskrit Education 30
Sanskritization 23,24
Satar 18,22
Seasonal migration 68, 71, 75
Sharbat 84
Occasional Papers
Sherma 45
Sidol63
Sikkim 26
Singo Nawa 56
Siva Sena 26
Social integration 17, 18,25,31,32
South Africa I
Sri Lanka 1
Sthan 84
Subba 24,33
Subhas Ghising 26
Sudhyain 47
Susupak Bhe)a 42
Sutli 63
Tamba Saling 20
Tamuan 20
Tera din kriya basne 46
Teraun 46
Thakur 57
Tharu 54,55
Thekka 64
Tibet I
Ultha 89
Ulthawa 89
United People's Front 30
USSR I
Yugoslavia I, 9, 12
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CENTRAL DEPARTMENT OF SOCIOLOGY & ANTHROPOLOGY T RIB H U V A NUN I V E R SIT Y, 1 9 9 6

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CONTENTS
ETIINICITY AND NATIONALISM IN THE NEPALI CONTEXT A Perspective from Europe Uwe Kievelitz

Kailash Nath Pyakuryal. Professor: Mi chigan State U ru versrty

Ph, D, (Sociology),

Krishna Bahadur Bhattachan, Lecturer, Ph, D. (Sociologv)., University of California, Berkeley

17
Hari Bhattarai, Lecturer (part-time): M,A ( Anthropology), Tribhuvan University

THE ISSUE OF NATIONAL INTEGRATION IN NEPAL An EthnorcgionaI Approach Krishna B. Bhattachan Kailash N Pyakuryal

Surcsh Dh a kal, M,k ( Anthropology), Tribh u van LJ n ivcrsitv

38
Tovc C. Kittc lse n, M,k ( Anthropology), University of Oslo, Norway

BHEJA AS A STRATEGIC CULTURAL CONVENTION Community Resource Management in the Barha Magarat Suresh Dhakal

Uwe Kie ve litz. Ph, [) ( Anthropology), Regional Advisor, German Technical Cooperation (OTZ)

52

THE RAJBANSHIS OF RAJGADH Community Adaptation in the Environment of Eastern Terai Hari P Bhattarai

78

KURMA, KOLL AND KURl AS COMMUNITY CONCEPTS Patrilineage Deities, and Inside-Outside Dichotomy among the Rana Tharus Ganesh AI Gurung Tove C Kittelson

Uwe Kievelitz n the ntem rary w rid. ethni it)' am nationalism arc burning is u Ev n a urs ry I k into the daily media prove thi point , While ethm trifc w ithin nati nal undari - am often in order to draw new national b undaries - i being d rurncmed daily on the television am i featurinz prominently In the new papers. xirch papers have ar 0 wrestled with university 011 uia am ientific answ to it as n f th prominent ocial i ue of our time cf.. ore arnpl • Brass 1991: v.d. Berghc 1990: Erik on 1993: Hargreaves/Leam an I -: K II ' 19 : Krueger 199.: Ratcliffe 1994: Smith 199_: cnneul nfGOY , 19 4; \ aldmannfElwcrt 19 9), .A: cthni rnovern nts have prung up wi th unprecedented iolen e in untric as din; rent f rmcr ) Yugo lavia am the U R. Rwanda am Burundi. as \\ wit nc the painfully ncar di integration of Canada a tcr th cparati t vote - in Quebec, am as the controver • between the Palestinian and the Israeli has reached a ne turning point with the assa .sination r Yitzhak Rabin. we arc painfully beginning to sk our .clves: Which kind of glue hold today' ' tales together? 'm e c. ecution of om: of the foremost intellectuals in igeria i j u ' t the lates I eve nt in the series of violent actions invol ing the divergent orccs of ethnicity and nationalism , Depending on our und rstanding of what make up an ethnic group , and what co nstitute 'c thnicity'. \\ can open the box of case example s the world over with other long- 'tanding examples of civil :trifc: Ireland, outh Africa. Tibe t. and Sri Lanka arc only the mo t prominent examples o f soc ial antagonism whic h runs along religious. ethni c, and/or racia l line , Under this overall scenario of our present world. it is certainly time to discuss the problems and prospects of cthniciiy and nationa lism with a view on Nepal. a country in which social division - along religious. ethnic. even major lingui stic (Tibeto-Burman vs. Indo-Aryan) and racial lines - is so much more prominent than the national glue which hold, the co untry together. As my knov ledge ard insight ' about cpal :md the region. however. are limited and nly lowly emerging after one year of work in the Hinduku .h-Hima laya. I would like til reflect fr m my personal

:0

viewpoint as a German and European and mainly draw on the anthropological literature written there and in the USA during the last five years. By this, I hope to throw some new light on a debate which has only begun and which deserves to he highlighted much more strongly in the intellectual and the public sphere in the country.

ETHNICITY AND NATIONALISM: TALKING ABOUT?

WHAT ARE

WE

Ethnicity and nationalism arc very complex social phenomena with whose understanding scientists have grappled for decades. Consequently, dcfin itions and descriptions abound, many of which arc not fully compatible with each other. However. a certain consensus seems to have been established It1 the major anthropological literature (for the best and most current overview, cr. Erikson 1993). out of which we can draw a conceptual basis for a better understanding. I will attempt to do this in the following paragraph. Ethnicity and nationalism ,U'C related phenomena. Roth arc forms or collective idcntity formation (cf. roster 199]: 235), In the first case, that of e t h n ic i ty , such a group identity formation refers to relationships between groups - above the family level which consider themselves, or are considered, as culturally distinctive from other groups (Erikson 1993: ,12) with whom they have a minimum of interactions. Such ethnic groups can be defined as endogamous collectivities which postulate, through selected (I) traditions, a distinctive identity (Orywal/Hackxtcin 1993: 598). In the second case, that or nationalism, we arc concerned with social processes involving groups (ethnic or otherwise) which relate to the creation, strengthening or defense of a territory which they regard w; a state according to their own definition (cf. Elwcrt 19X9: 449; Erikson 199:1: 99). Such groups - usually called na tions .- can he understood as colleen vities of people whose members believe that they arc ancestrally related (Connor 1992: 4X) and have a spatially bounded and sovereign character (Anderson 1")l)3: lS). In empirical terms, the following important considerations about the worldwide distribution or the two phenomena can be made: Only a minority of the world's states arc those in which a circumscribed ethnic group is identical to the state territory: in J 971, only 12 out of 132 stales fulfilled this criterion, whereas all the rest were truly mult iethnic (c r. Ant weiler 1994: 140); van den Bcrghe puts the estimate of such multi-ethnic states at about 85'X (v.d Berghe 1990: 5).

Thirty - five out of the 37 major armed conflicts in the world in 1991 were internal conflicts, most of which could be aptly described at; ethnic conflicts (ef. Erikson 1993: 2). Both cthnicity and nationalism have certain communal ities with, but should still be conceptually separated from, other 'centric' processes such as racism or fern inism (cf. Antweiler 1994), Inte~estingly, both phenomena as described - and possibly constructed' by social scientists, also have ~. number of characteristics in common (cf. Erikson 1993: !OO f.; Vcrdcry 1994: 49}: their understanding ,LS social process and social relations rather than as static cultural phenomena; the idea of fictivc kinship between the members of the respective group (ethnic group or nation): the creation of such relations through cveryday interaction C'Ethnicitv cmcJ'[!,es and is made relevant throng], social situations and encounters. end throu ~h people '.\' H'({.\'.I' oj' coping with the demands (~1{1 challenges of lijc." Erikson 1993: I/; the same is ill ustrated for the process of national culture formation (foster 1991); (he postulate of unity and homogeneity, and the common belief in shared culture and o r ig in s as the basis for the collectivity; the relational concept, including the drawing of clear bounda r ies, i.c., a couniti vc division between a homogenous 'us' and a diff;rentialed 'th'em' (in Germany described as 'Wir-Gruppcn-Prozessc, cf. EI wert 19Xt): Waldmann/ Elwcrt 1989; Barth J 969); both concepts, as tar ,lS social scientists judge them. relate to forms or social organization (Vcrdcry 1994: 35) and ac t ive social construction. meaning that the phenomena arc not 'natural', hut created by social groups; in (his sense, even the nation has been aptly called an 'imagined political community' (Anderson 1993 ); both phenomena draw on a combination between an

'altruistic' or symbolic, and an instrumental aspect: the creation or 'meaning' or identity formation.
of

on the one, and the utilization for pol itical legitimization and political action in view or the limited resources, on (he other hand: (hey "simultaneouslv

'lhmoly and Nationalism provide agents l1'irh mean ing and with OI:~attization(J{ channels j(JI pllt. While there seem [0 have been a Jew individual cases of rudimentary national ideology. again implying k i nsh ip regulations (cf.£( culturally defined interests" (Erikson IlJ93: IX: also cr.lS 'primordial' or objective facts. While all nationalism tries to establish a connection to 'prehistoric times'. Thus. but that their situational and subjecti vc characteristics arc gi vcn prime concern.' (Erikson 1993: l(4). Andersen 1093). First of all.dynasty.a new form of 'imagined community' came into being: the nation. adherence to a . 111e political organization of the state relied for ItS formation and fixation on the If we accept this position. lO] ). Thirdly. the French Revolution can be said to mark the beginning of nationalism in the above defined understanding. modernization. This political process. In fact one could postulate: the stronger the case was. this is a position which a number of anthropologists have taken ill the past. Vcrmculcn/Govcrs JlY)4). nationalism and cthnicity as defined above were largely absent.the dominant forms of collective identity formation were exerted either through some forms of kinship systems or through states which were usually founded on dynastic principles. through marriage as a prime agent of kinship formation. which at the same time illustrate the state or art and tendencies of current social science research on the subject.scs or houndary formation i 11 ethnic Identity building rather than 'objective cultural variables. united people as different as Hungarians. both forms of social organization have effects on people's consciousness in as much as they produce a felt sense of 'difference' with regard to certain ochers. it becomes aptly clear that both nurinnulism and cthnicity arc not thought of . The cnrnmonal it icx identified here exhibit a number of interesting characteristics. and Germans (cf. ftlr that mailer) and ih counterpart lor identity forrnauon is an important consideration as well because it takes the point of observation heyond one SOCial cntn y (the classical anthropological focus). Recently. ethnic difference. Indeed. Anderson 1993: 28).and some present-clay situations . the projects of a 'multicultural democracy' within a nation. a kind of process which can abo be described as 'cultural homogenization'. With the waning of the 'cultural glue' of religions and the dynastic order since the 17th century. we could conclude that it W. emphasizing the soc ial procc. the double impact on the symbolic as well as the political sphere IS a further decisive issue which has spawned as much scientific as political debate. i. made for nationalism. the phenomenon is thus largely recent. the stronger the reactions of ethnic groups who fear to be losers of the nationalistic project. and the beginning project of capitalism. how organized groups of people actively constructed their idcruity.usually religiously founded and sanctioned . Serbs. as this required "a standardization of skills. showinj. It is argued that the development of nationalism as a new form of collective identity formation was a necessary follower of industrial capitalism. the idenlogics we call nationalism and the subordinate subnational identities we call ethnicity result from the vanous plans and programs for the construction of myths of homogeneity out of the realities of hcterogeneity thai characterize all nation building ETHNICITY GROWTH AND NATIONALISM: ORIGINS AND For lung periods of history .c.L~ this 'myth of homogeneity' (Verdcry 1994: 50) which in effect created 'ethnicity as difference' from the more latent forms of ethnic identity formation. But Katherine Verdery rightly if pointedly asks whether nationalism is really nothing more than just 'cthnicity hacked by an army' ([004: 42). and is.win. r. or of a pIuri national social and political entity have hecome . Indeed. This mainstream of theoretical thinking began with the ground-breaking work of Frcdrik Barth (1960. Whcn reflecting on these commonalities. even tried to eradicate.. Jews (the 'Kaiser von Oesterreich' was also the King of Jerusalem). which made it possible for very different ethnic groups with different languages and other diverging cultural traits to coexist without a pressure for homogenization. Secundly. show that there arc differences.U Kievelit: . one could conclude that cthnicity is just a variant of nationalism. A look into both of these phenomena which arc each inspired by history can. as in the Habsburg Empire. and industrialization in the age of discovery with the concomitant inventions of new and ever faster communication means and the printing press . p. Indeed.lS well . In the words of Williams (1989: 429): In the formation of idcntutes fashioned in the constraints posed by the nexus of territorial circumscription and cultural domination. the politically vociferous form of ethnicity only developed as a response to the threat of nationalism which tended to neglect. while the process of ethnic identity formation can be understood as a universal process. in time and space (Orywal/ Hackstein 1993: 603). the inherent duality between a group (or nation. leading to the incorporation of many different ethnic groups under one monarch. dynasties were enlarged. cf. however.

One of the interesting social facts about the phenomena of ethnicity and nationalism is that while until the 1960s scientists were thinking of 'cthnicity' . cases which are comparable to that of Nepal. Tamils..this being the basis for determining citizenship up to today (cf CohnBcnditlSchmid 1993: 201) . 'ethnic cleansing' (Bcrghe 19LJ()) side by side with 'multicultural democracies' (Cohn. nor the constellation of young parliamentary democracy ard centuries-old kinzdorn. It was evident that political identity formation under 'ethnic' considerations was reappearing on the international agenda.U. However. was always prevailing. In fact.Bendit/Schmid 19LJ1 l. Neither docs one find the multiplicity of ethnic groups in most of the countries which is so characteristic for Nepal. at least on the level of intellectual debate in the United States. In consequence. Germany (cf.UTay of ethnic claims and clash~s: urhan ethnic minorities. historically. not only in the so-called 'Third World'. This ubiquity of the two related phenomena of collective identity formation under the combined pressures of homogcnizatinn and 'segmentary identities' (Erikson 1993: 152) to the extreme of post-modern individualism deserves continued social science attention. However. the Scots and Welsh in the United Kingdom. Catalans and Basques in Spain. History as a medium of identity formation has become very difficult to allude to in the bee of these brutal events of the recent past. Smith 1992: I.as a vanishing category under the influence of the increasing 'nanonbuilding character of the world. many of them for at least two generations. cultural. The myth of the homogenous nation. hut with equal thrust in Europe and North America. Moluccans in the Netherlands. indigenous peoples' movements. The idea of 'nation' in Germany has lost most of its appeal with the post-war generation. 'cthnicity against 'nationalism IS presently one uf the 'classics' in national and .al least for the 'proto-nations' . led by a pseudo 'national socialist' ideology. and mass-communicative processes.as well as in everyday Gennan reflections of identity: there arc Germans and there are 'Auslander' (foreigners). from the late 1960s onward. exactly this time marks the reappearance of the most cruel (civil) wars in the name of nationalism or ethnicity. born only in the beginning of the 19th century and originally directly inspired hy the french Revolution. when looking at European movements lor cthnicity and nationalism. and mass psychological phenomena behind (Jerman history arc essentially beyond this contribution. Cohn-Bcndit/Schmid 1(93). the idea of common ties hy descent Cblood') is still visible in German laws . Indeed. as at least six different degrees of 'Gcrmanness' can be differentiated (cf Erikson 1993: 113 If. Kicvclitz 19H6). While originally its aspiration was democratic and egalitarian (culminating in the 'Frankfurter Naiionalversammlung' . Cohn-Bendit/Schrnid 1(93) or the European Union.then called 'tribalism' or 'nativism' . Germany exhibits a long history of emigration and immigration and thus actually a resulting multicultural society. it picked up more and more conservative speed in the late [9th century. while only nationalism and nation-building were anticipated to occur worldwide. violent upri sings and suppressions of 'proto-nations' (Kurds. And It was III bet mostly in the industrialized and modernized countries of Europe and North America that a doubt was cast on national identity formation hy a number of ethnic movements: the Flemish in Belgium. which however is constantly denied hy politicians up to the present day (Bade 1(95). united hy German descent Chlood'). Bretons in France. Thus. the construct of a 'multi-cultural democracy' is slowly gaining ground in political debate (ef. meaning the unemotional acceptance of the fact that Germany I I . whieh quite evidently cut across territorial boundaries.even irucrnutional conflict scenario.). shortly before the end of the century we st il I experience the simultaneous persistence of the nation-stale J. some cases might be illustrative of the potential problems coming up for Nepal in the future. was the hirth of the term 'cthnicity. Presently more than 7 million foreigners 0:1 live in Germany. TIllS. TIle case of Germany is interesting for its peculiar 'national issues' during the past 150 years of history. Kashrniris). Yet this simple boundary formation in practice docs not hold true. was increasingly abused by the political rulers (the King and thc President of the Reichstag) and in consequence not only led to two terrible world wars.national assembly . EXAMPLES FROM EUROPE It is difficult to find. Nevertheless. hut even more so to the incredible conscious attempt at cthnocidc of the Jewish and Semite people in Germany and Eastern Europe. 1:1/1I111"1I\'lind Nauonultsm 7 more pronounced. On the contrary. it was an understanding of nation which was founded on patrilineal descent and common history.' well as of ethnic identity in the lace of attempts at larger political and cultural units (like the European Union) and an emerging 'glohal ccurncnc' (cl. and American Indians in the USA (cf. social. it is important to recognize some of the implications for modern-day politics. the idea of a German 'nation'.. While the complex political. the realitv since the 1960s shows a complex . Foster [991) ~ meaning a world increasingly tied together and homogenized by political. Therefore.in 1H4H). the 'melting pot phenomenon and the influences of globalization. Sikhs. Kicvelu: .

even though Yugoslavs who had undergone interethnic marriage and who were living in countries outside of Yugoslavia often did not even know which ethnic group they should affiliate to. following the arguments of Barth (1969). When Identities multiply. was almost immediately counterbalanced hy ethnic movements in the regions of Catalonia and the Basque country (Euskadi). was severely shattered in the course of the five-year war in former Yugoslavia. with the political vacuum appearing after Titos death and after the disintegration of the Soviet Union. the emerging 'European dream' of a larger collective identity slowly being formed from within Central Europe. former ethnic boundaries were reactivated. Jew.political in their struggle for regional autonomy. The case of former Yugoslavia can hardly be left out when discussing ethnicity and nationalism from a European perspective. Intellectual and Professor Imagine a similar multiplication of identities everywhere on earth. Perhaps the main differences between the groups are thai they practice different van ants of Christianity. which would be able to solve noli tical and economical challenges in the future. and the rate of mtermarnuge between the groups had been high. was thus lost (cf. For example. well. Spain is also illustrative of a country which in a historic period lost its 'vitality' and international importance when attempting to suppress the diversity it contained within. most (especially Western) Europeans had assumed that developments in politics as within civil society in the European countries had led to a point where external warfare . which was accompanied by a strong appeal to nationalism. nevertheless.). ethnic identities . only time will tell. Other European cases might Ix interesting a. In fact. There had been peace between Serbs and Crams since 1945. more than any other event in the past decades. an ideology which the 'national project' was not ready to accept. for mainly two reasons: with the political developments after the past two world wars. my translation) Spain for centuries. which have longestablished ethnic identities. They were practically declared 'impermeable'. and still arc . and the world will begin to look like a less dangerous place.which even carne close to cthnocidal/genocidal proportions. Arabs. and against. when drawing comparisons to Nepal.especially in the context of the East-West antagonism . and that they use different scripts. it was nol even successful in helping to end the war. the separatist movements. and is. a peculiar combination of European and Arabian art expressions) which had been the hallmark of Nevertheless. (Erikson 1'i'l3: 38 f. The beginning of this democratic venture. one could presume that cultural variation . playing a very positive role in the establishment and strengthening of democracy. Serbs and Croats speak the same language.was still probable. the Europeans. mainly because of political power interests. The peculiar fact about fanner Yugoslavia from the point of view of cthnicity and nationalism is that for two generations. and they were declared irreconcilable. Spain is illustrative of the problems of containing ethnic violence once it has begun and been suppressed for some time.at least in the case of the Basques . presumed cultural differences were discovered despite 'objective facts' to the contrary. East Coast inhabitant. The rich and vibrant culture which had developed especially in Southern Spain by the first half of the second rnillenium with the intermingling of Jews. an immigration country.were of low importance in the context of the Socialist nation-building efforts of Tito.wwt1111 PUPfrS U.existing hetween Serhs and Croatians as well as other ethnic groups of the country . keeping the state tethered to a precarious problem (cf Kievelitz 1986). did not playa significant role up to the present in preventing increasing violence from. which is a country in which parliamentary democracy has only been established 20 years ago. and that politics as well as social realities should be constructed around the idea that multiple identities (both between and even within persons!) 00 not harm the strength of a constitutional democracy. passions will suhside (Cohn-Bcndit/Schrnid 1'i'i3: 348. and Christians of different ethnic origins. Cohn-Bendit/Sehmid 1993: 204 IT. The European Community/Union in fact proved unahle to contain the brutal killings . The movements were. It is the brutal civil war which has shocked.8 Ou. was step-by-step destroyed in the name of a pure Spanish Christianity until the 17th century_The advanced scientific and university culture of the country as well as the specific forms of art (like the 'mudejar' art. hut in which the monarchy has a long history. The King.) Whether such an attempt at a new definition of our German collective identity/identities will be successful in future. there is the case of Spain. Kievelu: Ethnicitv and Nationalism has been. In the words of Michael Walzer: I will Identify myself with more Ihan one group: I will be American. but internal warfare was practically ruled out. but can actually enrich it. Furthermore. Violence and countcrviolcnce tend to retaliate.

overall religious pluralism is still a fact of Nepalese culture.ethno-nationalistic ideology with regard to ethnic pluralism and tolerance. CONSEQUENCES FOR NEPAL It seems to be as fascinating ~LS it is complex and difficult to apply scientific knowledge about cthnicity and nationalism . infrastructure. The incredible loss of lives and destruction which had to he paid for such a redrawing of the political landscape and the unsolvable oddities that have been created for example. and printing press establishments. hearing in mind that Nepal i docs not account for much more than one half of the country as the first language/mother tongue (Baral 1995: 44). the country which is the economically as well as politically most important counterpart among all the states surrounding Nepal. Nevertheless. show severe limitations which might not he overCOJT1C in the ncar future.and the resulting actual separation of the two ethnic groups. I hope that they will at least be. In this last chapter. that is. communication. would certainly exhibit a number of internal boundaries. remains fairly unstable. in the terms of Anderson (1993). Dahal 1995). it is often drawn in contrast to India. Nepal provides a complex case for the discussion of cthnicity and nationalism for at least the following reasons: it is a multiethnic state with at least 35 groups which can be differentiated on linguistic and/or ethnic grounds (cf. However. Clearly. What about the issue of ethnicity. and this.to the case of Nepal. ethnic identity .L. yet less controversial role. Bhattachan 1995. seems to be fair enough. even the linguistic majority of Nepali speakers is clearly heterogenous and. then') Clearly.in my eyes often chauvinistic . Bista 1972.has thus created a way to a new nationalism which is purely ethnically based: there will be a Serb country and a Croatian country.apparently of the ruling upper caste Hindu part of society becomes increasingly rigorous to define and proclaim the nation (cf. a combination of dynastic principles of social organization with emerging ethnic and nationalist ideologies: its limited natural and political resources are quite unequally divided between different collectivities of people. as the attempt .as almost exclusively driven by political aspirations and power interests . Even the important vehicle of education (ct.and especially their combination . In essence. figure at tunes as an overpowering adversary in opposition t o which the ruling panics since the democratic rule in 1990 have repeatedly tried t o establish the linage of the Nepalese nation. exemplifying the Tibetan case) shows the same limits to providing a more unified collective identity. and religion seems to play the least controversial role in the question of unity or division in Nepal (ct. the theoretically described process of boundary formation can easily be verified from public debate. the creation of collective identity is much more difficult than the creation of a binary opposition. The very vehicles of nation-building. in the context of what has been said before. The vehicle of religion . As it appears. one would presume such a process to increasingly take place ~L~ a consequence of modernization and ~L~ a reaction to the 'natural order of diversity' in a diversified and fragmented mountain ecology. then. <U1CI actually seems to. an ethnically divided Sarajevo ~ are the result of ethnic nationalism gone wild. if one draws on the case of neighboring Bhutan for an illustration of the consequences of an . In fact. In consequence of these characteristics and of the international influences. for the very facts of the multi-ethnic base of the country and the physical limits work against overcoming this situation fast.r 10 OIClISlIiIW! Papers 11 between Serbs and Croats would become a more established 'fact' after the ethnic war. intellectually stimulating. Let us first have a look at the process of nationalism. the country exhibits. Ideologically. according to their own criteria. Bhattachan/Pyakuryal 1995). a surfacing of both processes can clearly he observed at lea~t since the time of a more or less pure dynastic reign was over with the advent of multiparty democracy in 1990 (Bhattachan 1995: 134). it can be assumed on pure theoretic grounds that both ethnicity and nationalism are on the rise. I might he allowed to say. Dahal 1995: 168). I will only make a few pragmatic and cursory remarks. India can. the advent of industrial capitalism with its concomitant language unification. the national project. potential in homogenizing the 'imagined community of Ncpalis. However.III theory a vehicle pre-dating nationalism . To this end. a uni fication agent (Anderson 1(93) . like Britain and other European countries. the drawing of new boundaries ~ like it has been decided upon now I n the Peace Treaty . Goldstcin-Kyagu ISlSl3. at least as a nationalistic project. In fact. Ethnicity . mostly on caste rather than 'ethnic' grounds.assumes importance in the attempt for Hinduiration: not only for ito. without any authoritati vc arguments. the King and the Kingdom might playa related. but for its actual potential of dividing It along the ethno-Irnguislic lines (cf Bista IlJ92).

multi-cultural democracy constitutionally defines itself as a characterized by pluralism.) Die fOrli'ull/fll' de" Nation. a certain nationalism).through social SCIences. and multi-cultural society for all Ncpalis. i.maybe even through (2. with the realignment of resources to different groups (this would mark the trend toward. and foremost anthropologists. the negative impacts in terms of economic and social costs of an increased antagonism between nationalism and politically instrumentalized ethnicity can be enormous. Poverty is partly based on ethnic lines. and the role of science itself in that context. including the politics of culture." b. before their overcoming can he attempted. which nation the more 'opportune'.and in my opinion should . cthnicity will tend to be increasingly heard and seen in the political arena . In this context. One could presume that. and gender (cr. Therefore. and the pressure for increased nationalism remains high. Zur Karrierc eines !o/. and legitimacy for. the project of poverty alleviation has the potential to bring together major social and political forces across ethnic divides in overcoming rampant poverty. mostly anthropology. I finally leave the position of the impartial scientist. In fact. this is also what seems to have happened since about 1990. on close range realistic. Bhattachan 1995: 134-137). pp I07-Uf1 . multi-ethnic. as many ethnic groups . 1<)<). as long as resources are scarce... What could be the prospects for Nepal under such a scenario? With this question. Aufl. and former Yugoslavia should illustrate.e. Both the ethnic and the national projects seem to me to have a certain legitimacy and persistence for Nepal in the sense that.more than nationalism . NOTES This article is a rev iscd version of a paper presented at a seminar on Ethnicily and Nation-Building organized jointly by the Central Department of Sociology and Anthropology and The South Asia Institute of the University of Heidelherg in Kathmandu. and legitimacy for.option being the development of a quota systems .) in it: and reflect the actual societal process.have started to establish their own political or 'cultural' organizations and to put forward their claims. political panics. it has to be linked. the case example of Indonesia with its 'unuy in diversity' is illustrauvc for comparative purposes. Two options can be foreseen from my point of view: a. option could be a political concentration of all REFERENCES Anderson. 2 3 4.potentially even with connotations of violence and repression (cf. ethnicity). Dahal 1995). with up to 70% of the population defmed as being poor. the culture(s) of politics. is at present a strongly debated issue (d. I Wessel fed) Natumalism "lid £1111"1'11\' in Southeast Asia Hamburg... caste. the King. leading to a more equitable." The 'creation and support of cthnicity . Spain. C 1994 "South Sulawesi: Towards a Regional Ethnic Identity" Current Trends in a Hot and Historic Region". Nepal. under a concern for equity and social stability. social movements. ctc.mostly those of non-Indian/Hindu origin . the questions put forward in Vcrdery 1994) and the role of different social actors (c. Reconciliation between the legitimate social and cultural striving forces behind both phenomena is the main challenge for a society. It could .") This marks for Erikson one of the main reasons why anthropology is the prime science to mvcsngate such phenomena (Erikson IY93: 11.therefore be the task of social scientists.:pllr<'l<hol KOII::cl'lS. while the overcoming of internal antagonistic differences and inequalities is of prime importance (this would mark the trend toward. As the cases of Germany. and in as much as the political project of poverty alleviation might also concern group-related poverty.U Kievelir: : Ethmcuv and Nationalism 12 Occasional Papers 13 formation might quickly go beyond the purely symbolic level and try to enter more strongly the public political arena in the contest for claims on the limited resources. it would require the acknowledgment of ethnic identities .g. the more demanding ~ and in the ncar future possibly unrealistic? . on December 22-23. But clearly poverty cuts beyond those into other social divides: those of class. B 1993 major forces in society on the project of poverty alleviation rather than on nationalism or ethnicity Poverty is the most urgent and vexing problem of Nepal. 10 help to clarify the options: this would mainly relate to theoretical and comparative studies of the different South Asian and international models of multi-cultural nation-building and poverty alleviation avai iablc: help to elucidate the constraints: this calls mainly for investigations into the complex topic of collective identity formation (cf. Wicker 199. . Frankfurt/New York Antwcilcr.

PI'. D.aditimwl N~" <lr Cif}' in N. D. " ~l ak ing Rtl·i~ .mal Per. Kathma ndu. A"nual '99' Harth .h.I.<yd"..v.". 196 9 ··Pc moc racy..B (6 th ed. 15. cn Dimension InlC:O. . nee. Fremdhildcr. An.u}lni. W. A.lo}lif 41. Elhn i". Thr Po/iriC.up_' "..' O'!lIIni.12." /"'t m ll/i. '99' "I Amh".H1 '1/ a T.m d Elh" i. 235-260 !'O alional C ultu res in lhe G loha l Ecumene" .) Brass. Elh" i clI Y alld . nl. 1. T<llit ."sl'tl : II. 1912 (2nd ed. E/hlli. Pl'. D.. .<m: Amh"'fH. P. p. P..j 1992 " Ethnic Cauldr on. En ksoe. ted.. F. Kie . i c. J Tht T.l1. hllo e iu r.li. U. " PJ lmopolilics "oJ Eth ncd evelopmcnt: An Emerging Paradigm In Nepal" .. C.mduINcp.ul 8m4l"1. rrrJ.. l lJH9 "The Politics o f Ethnicity"...) R"r i. K . Or f:<!Fll:. 1995.fm.uI.1 Con/lltl.. (v. T JS. 2 1·59. Americun E/h."". A. Aldcn.): H. l£w}er"llli' .d /' o/iria in N t' ( I<I I . 1993 DelhI . "Die vcrweige rtc lIeimaC . Waldmann. v ermeulenzC. L. S'h w eizer.'l f ~mpiriJ<'ht 1 i An<ll y. Bhanachan. (eds.) Levy. '993 Kruege r. pp __ 137-168...<r.): SWtt . 1 London. 19H9 "Natioualismus und Elhnilil:lct: Ueber die Bildllng von Wir(I ruppeu".uda~h. Leaders hip Rol. SlI n''''<l1 ur SlIlmtJ. London.<. t:lli ll i<' (. P. Mista. .!<'C'_ Lo ndon.Jie . ro..J P"lilics ill Harg rea ves... lokelL ondon. 11l Hhallachan . "Eignchllder. pp.J ". F<ltl li.Ut' Vi" i"u:C' . Kath mand u. 124. K. Ethnizueer und Nativismu s . 3 . E Hac h lci n. l i..i<l"d P" lili m l Dyfldmiu . S.147. pp. 20. p..Jlljllll <If Cull""'! Difji'u. D B.}: . TI" '99' Le:llll:ln lcd 5.!:ic<l Perspectives. I'J'I. • v crdc ry.. Ill.ffhe' Ht ziehulIKeII.li51'tl: 1986 M ".% I/C'.. D." WId N"rwN. K Wirkliehl e a '99' Co hn-Bendi!. ~R" a".tet.. Delhi .. Ctmltl'tlfHIf"0' Europe .. 1. T.): SW It .j Hista. Jb . R. Kumar (cd.Uebe r di e Bihlung von w e-Gronpen".paJ. '99' Daha l. Sloc kholm. Ttll. Kumar (cd. n. I. Hcrgbe..ullurel!en Umgangs" . ""d NmwlIilli.. Hamburg.". 'hriji 440 -464 J~er So~i"lo}/ie and Elwell . "Erhnizjteet: Die Koo 5truk tion ethniscbe r uen".1995.." Antwcder .!:)'..M IIUI'tl ami . 29· -19.epa)"'. (cd..m: C H t' S/"di~J ill ~" Ilt/r ill.lpt c/il·"" . E/Ii.J uf NmioM/ism II /Ill E/h"if ity." Pa per prese nled al the Seminar on Ethn icity a nd N:J. Die Wnche.11.d and Oxl<ll a '" tit'n USA . Kath mandu.. D. " hrb utg . Benin.m .m S''''i.1 und ihre AUJI-l'irk ulI }/t ll : F.Jioll : All 111l'~"/lK<lri"'l 'if Elh"il"if}' <I1Id Edum/i. VolA und 1'o'<l ri" n: SOli%Kie inler' f/h"i. 1.f ".ch der E/hll " I" Kit . (ed.ool! England I:'/h"i. 1'tl UNJ [)~"dopl'tle"l: l < M'>MrtI' Z</l i" " Cilkoll:L Ethmn. '994 "Ethnid ly. G 1989 " Natio nalis illus. ing. 1995 Baral. Elwcrt...) "" Srr uth.f('h~ M illt/a hei /en. pp. I{ajopadhya~'a ) 1992 Me s. G. 1 . pp.h.i/y <llId P" li.p". 2 1·22 .u/~r" hl/' <l d n I'o liri o in Nt/~.whWi. De mography allli Minority Politics : Th e Caw of Ncpa!"'.).p N'I"I1. Kalhm.lllll1ulltn Ralcliffe."1993 foo. H. ' R.vawm . Ieds. !'. D. Stungart. Lcidcn < Tumbiah..'pi'" der f """ Iukker ill H" IL". 1\'ationali51ll and Sla te-Making"'. t'alurbilder: Anthtopolog tscber Ueberblic k und Aus w ahlbibliog raphie lur kognill. Covers. PJElwell. K.. MlKok ot.<ehe M"d~lIflt/I-l'i. 33-58.."it~ : Ethni m y lind Nationalism 15 "" B:l<k. Pyak uf)'al 1995 ··Eth nore~ional Pers pectives on Nnucn al lmcgr allon of Nepal. 1995 D~m"k. t .eil. C.w~ .. G. Kumar led. Saarbru ecken . t:t hnin ty <1M N<I/wrw. U..lidry mId Nutim".d .tion al DevclupJllent .. Hemuu B<lb~'I"n: D<I. Ory . 593-61 2.lulIl: lim Bt i. Koehler SlJlilllp. l.• R9. rp- 7. derht ile" /[t 'H..it h co llaborauon of K R. Niwot! Colorado ily KeJlas.kl"'u ~ Scl lIx .".f8-110 .'i 1993 Kie velitz. K. Ied.f ji'.j 1990 s(.15 · .-k. pp . in :-. < der I'tllllti k. J.!"" I.d ' htorn i..: and Natlou-Building .

Elwcrt (eds. ap . and cus to ms. incl udi ng language . co m mo n identification (or 'peo plehood') marked by (a) sy m bo ls of shared heri tage. e 1h n i ci I .A popular . and often . (h) an awareness of sim ilar historical experience . Alleviation of po verty also demand a crious discus 'ion of the vario u dimen ions of ethnic is ues . Fin all y. houJd the m on op Iy 0 th dominant Hindu hilI cas te group end? Articles have. Amsterdam. Soci a l integrat io n is a co nd ition of achieving a relatively cohes ive and func tioning intera c tion sys tem in a soc iety am ong different people :c a prcc ndition to nati on al integr atio n. and programing. Thi article intend to how that there w· . p licics. It al 0 sugge IS that the ethnic-paradigm hull be treated :c a central element in everything related 10 planning .$ DeldnplI/MI hll":lgolLoodon. in epal o n titutc the inglemo t riou i: 'Ue of th day fa ring the 'cpalesc oc iety after the pe pIe' movement of 1990. reli gi on . Waldmann.. as a ute as in Sri Lanka or Yugo lav ia? Can the pr c : o f nat ional inrcgra ti n in lcpal be really equated with the idea of a ' mel ting p t' :c i ofte n nc? I J Icpal a 'garden o f all astes and e thni groups' in the real sense ? And. (Call a spade a pade) .• and Boundaries ". H. sion of the implication " of ethnoregio nal problems for the .ared to <tddress these queri . Til Anlhmpolngy IIf Ethnicity: Beyond "Ethnic Group.J. I • pp chtllo muho. n rati nal ethnic policy in epal in the p: t nor i there an. B.) 19 9 Ethnizitaet im Wandel I VI ker . and c) a sense of in-group loyal ty or 'we fee ling' associated with a shared soc ial positi on . ILR aarbru eckc n/Port Lauderdale Kri hna B. ide ntificat ion wi th a spec ific nati onal o rig in.. '7l'r here "-V ari i I I I I . 199 I Elhni '01 \ '0 A CI" Anth ropol ogy and the R e 10 latio n r. no doubt. but not inev ita bly. 'epali sayi ng." 1JI"/II~ I ilhan . Peopl e here have ever 'in e been asking: \ ill epal f thn ic pr ble m.cnt. cial and national imcgration o f epal.. Terrain". Pyakuryal R. at th prc .16 Occasional Papers Vermeulen. For the purpose of this disc ussion. kuru bhaTU!J.! But mo t o f them have ' 0 01 hov ign red the poli cj impli arion of such ethnorcgional problem: in the ntcxt nati onal integration. khasro mitho. le P Th e Three Worlds : Culture WId W"rld 19 . • j n d ubt "hall' ver that the problems related to the u: ethnic and dcpre . G. ha been defined as a process of reciprocal. Annual Revie» ( Amhropoln ') . Bhaua chan l Kail h . ed astc group. P. s imi lar values and interes ts. In that context. thi article expects to generate a ration al di: cu. I!I\)4 Govc rs (eds .

R aarhrueckcn/Fcn Lauderdale 199 " Kultu lie ldent iraeten.I Ii Occasional Papers v rmculcn . this article expects 10 generate a rational discussion f the implicatio n f ethnoregional problems for the soc ial and national integration of Nepal. It also ugge ts thai the ethnic-paradigm hul l be treated a! a central element in everything related 10 planning. similar values ~U1d interests. Fin ally. kuru blul1IdJI khasro mnh o. 'epali saying. p licics. (Call a pade a spade ) . and custo ms.. Waldmann. e t hn ici t y has been defined as u process of reciprocal. Bhauachan Kailash I " Pyaku ryal Rou "'UIlI l ilharn . Amste rdam . ocieiy after the pe plc' movement 01" 1990 Pe pic here have ever 'in e been asking : \ III T epa! face ethni pr blem.rc any al the pre sent. n rational ethnic policy in Iepal in the pa t nor is th . G. 29 . Alleviation of poverty also demands a . H. Th i article intend I h w that there w . identification with a specific national or igin. I ' . 19 9 I" clullu mttho. including language. houId the mon opoly of the dominant Hindu hill ca tc group end ? Anicles have. but not inevitably.2 But rna t of them have somch \ Ignored the policy impli arion of u h ethno regiona l problems in the c ntcxt f national integration.cussion of the variou dimen ions of ethnic i 'sue'. (h) an awareness of similar histor ical experience.. co mmon identification (or 'peoplehood') marked by (a) sy mbols or shared heritage. . In that co ntext. and often. For the purpose of this discussion. 1'1' 01 Kri hna B.199 • Wien .0 ' ussi nsstand und Folgcrun gen T gung erde u ch pra higen Eihn loginnen und Eih I g n. D('I'd"I'Il/l'III ~ various ethnic nd lepre sed astc gr up in 'cpal onstiune the here i no doubt \ hats vcr thai the problems related to the • inglcmo I scriou i: uc of th day Ia ing the 'cpal ' . "'7li Th Thr ee W"rlds: Culture and lI'orld hicagorl.ondon. I . I Act' Anthropology and the Race 10 lion rooS Eihni Terrain". and programi ng. and (c) a sense of in-group loy alty or 'we feeling' associated with a shared social position . B. 1994 Govers (eds . Til Anthropology of Ethntcity: Beyond "Ethni Groups and Boundaries ". Soc ia l intcg rut ion is a condition of achieving a relatively cohesive and unctioning internction system in a ociety among different people as a prcc ndition 10 national integra tion..A popular. Ann ual Rein e.crious di .. Elwcn teds. no doubt appeared to address th se queri .i 19 lJ Ethnizitaet un II'wufel \\'1 ker . 'J/ Amhrol'"l" '\ . 2<. II. as acute as in Sri Lanka or Yugoslavia? Can the pr c iss f national imcgration in epal be really equated with the idea of a ' rnclune pot' as i often d nc? Is J 'cpa! a 'garden of all astes and ethni group: ' in the real ense? And. P.. religion. und ':llInnals en.

on the one hand. Ethnic identities and languages go hand in hand in Nepal where over 70 languages arc spoken. which the Hindus argue.' The rulers have taken advantage of such complicated Iinguistic situation to impose and rationalize Nepali as the only official language in Nepal. the Constitution docs not allow." Actually the Constitution of 1990 explicitly declares Nepal . allows everyone to practice the traditional . including Nepali and withdrawal of the government's decision on Sanskrit as well ~L) support for education in their respective mother tongues. and programs. Mongoloid and Caucasian. 'TIle other two groups arc Dravidian tJhangod/ishangad and Proto-Australoid or Pre-Dravidian (Sutar/Sall/!lal) in origin. The Nepal Sadvabana Party has gone so far as even to demand official recognition of Hindi a. particularly Bihar and Uttar Pradesh of India. Among them. Hinduism.Ls a H1I1du kingdom although people remain divided on this point and the issue of secularism has sharpened the debate recently. has demanded an equal status for all the languages. which always remained very close to the royalties with access to and control over most of the available resources. (I) Nepal: a Country ol Diversity: (2) A Brief Review of the State's Position on Ethnic Issues: 0) Decentering thc Concept of National Integration. society. .LS imposed by the rulers. are relatively isolated geographically and more close to the Tibetans. manv of whom arc indigenous peoples. The Nepal Janajati Ma!las(1llgh.V l'yllkl<ly"! Nationa! Intrrgratnm II' Nepa! It) national integration is a progressive process of identifying commonalities with respect to common goods hut maintaining and promoting the distinct ethnic identity of each group through social integration within the framework of the current international political boundarrcx. the hill Chhctris. whose mother tongue is not Nepali language. the Caucasians arc close to the people ol the Indo-Gangetic plain. in order to protect di versity within a framework 0[" these shared values." This makes these two groups culturally distinct from each other. one of the Mongoloid groups shared those resources with hill Bahuns and Chhcrris mainly because they have been for a long time the dominant urhan-oriented ethnic group in the Kathmandu Valley. quite a kw ethnic groups have now started to rediscover their scripts and teach their languages to their children and adults. Racial Diversity Nepal's racial composition is derived mainly from two major groups. During the last two centuries. Islam. All these diversities revolve around the center of cthnicity that calls till' a multiparadigm approach in its developmental plans. pol icicx. the Newars. Buddhism. and culture. . Lamaism. which is a federation of 22 indigenous <U1d marginalized ethnic groups. 111e National Language Policy Recommendation Commission (NLPRC) has noted that there arc. (4) Increasing Significance of Ethnic Identity. and (c) making education practically accessible to all. rcgionJccology.r IK K li Bluutac hall L~ K . ruled the country and other hill Chhctris <U1d Bahuns were the most privileged caste groups in Nepal. language. however. This article is divided into seven sections.' Whereas (he Mongoloid people. Bon.ive discrimination to overcome the historical disparities that may subsist between the various groups: (h) promoting equal opportunities. particularly Thakuns. Nepali language has been imposed by the hitl Bahun-Chhctri rulers as the official language of Nepal and the 'democratic' constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal-1990 declares Nepali as the Rashuu-Bhasha ("national-language') and other native languages as Rashtriva-Bhashaharu "languages of the nation'. which speak single or multiple languages. all the ethnic groups must have shared values in which the cultural aspirations of each group arc also reflected. arm Christianity. However. and on the other. and there may he mallY sects even within each of these religious systems. Sanskrit has been made a compulsory course of study for the high school students. . However. diverse castes and ethnic groups. namely. Christianity is of recent development and Christians have been blamed by the Hindus tor large-scale conversion of the Hindus and Buddhists. Nepali language is increasingly heing perceived hy vanous ethnic groups. (a) ending all kinds of negative discrimination and promoting posit. The Constitution. multi-lingual caste and ethnic groups. Linguistic Diversity NEPAL: A COUNTRY OF DIVERSITY Nepal is a country of diversity in terms of race/caste and ethnicity. Animism. at least three measures need to be taken. To acJlleve national Integration. although it IS the vernacular language 01" nol one minority even there. strategies. the official language in thc Tarai region. (5) Hotspots of Ethnic Conn icts: (6) Issues at Stake: and (7) Ethnic Rcconscicntizauon. Such a policy is viewed by the ethnic groups as a strategy of dominant caste groups to deprive their children of higher education. religion. As an exception. Religious Diversity People in Nepal follow different religions.

11.' Regional Diversity Ethnogeographicaliy speaking. Politically. Nepal is a Hindu kingdom.bed' on those ancient traditional ethnic regional clusters. who identifies more than 100 distinct ethnic/caste dusters. (v) Khasan. (5) Muslims. have demanded federalism b. But while many take It as a matter of strength. the ethnic-based pol itical parties which have emerged recently. (d) Muslims: and (c) others {Sikhs. (2) high caste Hindus of the Tarai. who can speak only in Nepali may not succeed in non-Nepal! speaking communities. The constitution recognizes Nepal as a multi-ethnic. the ethnic paradigm should get a central focus in all plans. the Thunderbolt. ?nd ~lJJ) the Tarai. and absorbed all the p~tly states in his process of 'unification. However. TIle Trident. Therefore. (b) Ncwars: (c) ethnic/tribal groups. and sovereign nation. three ecological regions arc: (i) the Mountain. both in the perspective as well as five year plans. the Central Region is the most affluent the Eastern Region is relatively better ofL the Western and the MidWestern regions arc somewhat behind the Central and Eastern Regions. and strategies." A more logical grouping. (x) Nepal. stagnation will continue for a long time." ]11e five development regions demarcated durin" the course of the Panchayat rule arc: (i) Eastern Development Region. Unti I 1768 there were 12 ethnic regional clusters: (i) A wadhi Iii). Such diversities demand plural istic approaches till' uplifting the standard of people's life here. norms and values. democratic. would be: (J ) high caste Hindus of the Hills. (a) Hindus WIth caste origins. regional variations exist due to the land's extreme ecological diversity. . and 12 ethnic regional clusters. t iv} Khambuan. One of the crucial reasons for such stagnation is the ignoring of cthno-dcvclopmcnt in all development plans. the Nepal Janajati Party and the Nepal lana Pam'. The. and (7) Nepali citizens of European origin. and Christians). policies. Bhatlachan writes: Ncpulx status of underdevelopment has remained rhe same for several decades as one of the las! 12 poorest countries in the world. III . (xi) Tambu Sall/lg.1990. (4) indigenous and marginalized ethnic groups. and nationality. Among them. (viii) Magarat. Nepal is also a multi-religious state and religion. Such differences make Nepal a small world in itscl f. would not succeed amongst the devout Bahuns and Muslims. Magars. may not work for another. and Marwaris. Bengalis. and the Cross arc all thus seen here in conflict with one another.e official ban on household production of liquor and cow slaughter hurts the sentiments of many people. indivisible. aggregates them into five broad groups. Marwaris. STATE'S POSITION ON ETHNIC ISSUES According to the Constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal . Jill' example. the privileged groups consider It a source of weakness and future problems. (ii) the Hills. Bengalis. independent. (ii) Central Development Region. for instance. moreover. the hill peoples have been dominant in the Mountain as well as the Tarai.' This led to the emergence ol a centralized government under a single sovereign called Maharujadhiraj ('the Bmpcror). (iv) MidWestern Development Region. Society and Culture The di versitics descrihed above have helped Ncpal (0 develop a plural society and culture. (vi) Knchilu: (:)tt) LIIJlbuafl. there is a direct conflict between the hill and the Tarai peoples." The rites-de-passage and religious practices. (ix) Maithil. is one of the important attributes of ethnicity.religion of one's own family. jive development regions. kinship features. Dahal. (3) low caste Hindus of the Hills and the Tarai. Bhojpuri. King Prithvi Narayan Shah of Gorkha conquered the cny states of Kathmandu Valley. The nature and cultures of these three regions vary significantly. An income generating program of pig raising. however. and the Far-Western Region remains the most neglected area where the Chhctris. just as the agents of development programs. language. a fact which itself indicates thc failure of the past development paradigms to change rhe quality of life of the poor Nepalese peoples. What works for one group.." Similarly. and (v) Far-Western Development Region. the Crescent. like racial origin. '4 The description of Nepal as a single nation-state is self-contradictory in nature as it at the same also recognizes the plural nature of ethnic groups and cultures. multi-lingual. (6) Sikhs. programmes. (iii) Western Development Region. (iii) Iadan.. often significantly. I) As castc/ethnicity is at the center of Nepalese social structurc. end (xii) Tamuan. Unless the current and future development plans and programmes are geared towards ethno-ccntercd development. and Tharus arc heavily concentrated with the third group suffering most. even if the Trident remains a dominant force due to the constitutional and legal protection given bv the state. The country is divided into three mam ccologica] regions. and culture patterns of these groups differ. the imposition of Sanskrit language at the high school level by the state and the absence of a policy on vernacular language as a medium of teaching deprives them of equal educational opportunities.

?" Poudyal's conception of national integration is problematic for ethnic groups . During the Panchayat period. the interim government and the Nepali Cor.. that HMG-N allotted some nominal hudget for the upliltmcnt of the underprivileged and native ethnic groups. Though the constitution of Nepal thus docs not overlook the fact of economic and social inequalities among the various ethnic groups. strategies... make the native ethnic groups merely a subject to be studied. and social workers. DECENTERING 'NATIONAL INTEGRATION' In Nepal the concept of national integration had a single meaning until 1990. But now the dccentcring 0[' such a monolithic notion of national integration has. practiced elsewhere. had been intl uential in reinforcing such a monolithic notion of national integration. such as Rautc. a task force formed by Hi\'IG!N has submitted its report about the establishment of a foundation for upliftment of the nationalities.. has a program for the development of-Chepangs and other ethnic groups. ['\ukllF\'1I1 Nu I""''' I III {ngl(J(101J IJJ Nepu! Though the constitution providex an individual the right to adhere to and practice one's own religion (thus recognizing the existing multiple religions in Nepal even if at the same time it also underlines the dominance of the Hindu caste groups by labeling the country a Hindu kingdom). was advocated in Nepal by hoth the Western and Nepalese scholars and the development practitioners. Blwrr"cllilll & K N. the traditional notion "should be interpreted as the king's idea of internal autonomy to bind the different ethnic groups into a single territorial nation-state. bureaucrats. no development programs were implemented for raising the quality of life of the underprivi leg cd ethnic and depressed caste groups. the National Democratic party. and programs. 1(. Sanskritization. policies. the caste and ethnic groups identified in the 1991 census report have not been free from the criticism of various ethnic groups for being too biased in favor of the hill BahunChhetris and Hindus. and the Nepal Sadvabana Party. Dusadh. barring the half-heartedly implemented Praja Bikash Karvakram CChepang Development Program'). the pol icics and programs of His Majesty's Government of Nepal (HMG-N) til not reflect a sincere effort to deal with these inequalities with appropriate i ustice as stipulated under the Constitution. and languages by eliminating all kinds of economic and social inequalities. however. Jhangar. Even alter 1990. Their source of such inspiration was King Pr ithvi Narayan Shah's saying: Nepal char jar chhattis vurnako phuihari lto ("Nepal 1S a garden of four castes and thirty-six varnas"). Census data have as a consequence invited attributes such as niithvanka ('false data' ). the ethnic-paradigm should be internalized at all levels of public policies and by all public actors. the hill Hindu rulers interpreted the concept in terms of Hinduization. and Dhirnal. It was only in the annual prugrarn of the Nepal Communis! Party (United Marxist and Leninist) government In 1995. The present coalition government of the Nepali Congress Party." The 'assimilation theory' of national integration. castes. In the changing context.21 Another scholar notes: " . hegun. and Ncpalization. the ethnic groups should be given a chance to maintain their 'minimum value-consensus' in society. it prohibits conversion into another rcliaion."n Poudyal is of the opinion that" . The objective of these programs for the 1995/96 fiscal year is limited to the study of the socio-economic conditions of these ethnic groups and til the establishment later of a foundation for the promotion and development of their culture]' Recently. or into a multi-ethnic nation-state.. But mere setting up of a foundation or even creation of a ministry of ethnic groups would hardly help to materialize social justice in Nepal. as they are. Satar.gress governlllent formed alter the general election Ill' 1991 did not care to consider the ethnic reality in formulating government plans. Till then. The state docs not seem to show any sincerity in recognizing the continuing unequal distribution of rewards <mel privileges: nor docs it demonstrate any serious change in ethnic policy which would show a certain modicum of progress. religions. Ie But these programs could not address the major issue of ethnic exploitation nor could they put the underprivileged ethnic groups on an equal footing with other privileged groups. Until 1990 HMG-N did not even collect census data rcgarding ethnic affiliation and it was only in the 1991 census that ethnic information appeared. There is also a program for the upliftment of the native ethnic groups.. too. In the process of national integration. the process of national integration is to bring together the culturally disparate parts into a closer approximation of one nation.K fl. Musahar. The Prime Minister recently touched upon the idea of establishing a foundation in the near future in the course of his address in a national convention of the Gurungs.") Such programs. Dorn. including the political leaders.. In the place of such ceremonial harangues. Ethnic nationalism is taking deeper and deeper roots. somehow." ~ 111e state appears to accept the rcsponsibi I ity of establishing coordination among ditferent ethnic groups with different racial Origins. However. the old model of integration is no longer acceptable to the different ethnic groups. too.

Until the fifties of this century. however. and Thakuris have begun to undergo a certain self-transformation through ethnicization. have even more justification . in his interpretation of Mahakabi Laxmi Prasad Devkota's poems. more recently. Sanskritization. during those old bygone days.' The process of cultural atomisation seems to have begun. and other resources of Nepal.' and (c) state-protected dominant-subordinate ethnic group relations over these resources. constitutional measures. Gurungs were divided into four castes and sixteen sub-castes. appears that the rulers themselves Ahout such trends. Bhattachan has this to say: Sharma has noted a recent process of communalization of the Hindu caste groups.HI (emphasis ~d~) . discriminated groups .. Three other factors. economic. including 22 and 24 principalities which lived in isolation.24 Occasional Papers K. Later." The rulers. The untouchable castes of the pre-1963 Muluki Aill. if his prescription is to be followed. (b) homo-social reproduction of the 'power elite. Earlie. Most of the diverse cultural.. thus.the Brahmans of the Nepali hills . most Nepalese peoples also lived in isolation due to a lack of modern transportation and communication facilities and because of the state policies. especially after the 1950 revolution. then it may require the resurrection and embracing of indigenous 'sprouts' . and the Dus (Ten) Limbus were divided into 2X hundreds of Subbas.as a prime issue. . Some strongly favor. namely.' Hinduization.' divided the indigenous ethnic groups into several factions. One reason was the gradual increase in the number of educated people among the various ethnic and underprivileged caste groups..as an exploited and still-exploited class . t.r'" But if the concept of national integration is a political concept. will get a chance to maintain 'minimum value-consensus' and the rest might still be imposed by the ruling Hindu Hill Bahuns and Chhetris. actually. gaining an ethnic identity all their own. Recently. the interest to control political.to forge a new identity of their own. various ethnic and caste groups are 're-discovering' and asserting their ethnic and caste identity. Hence they had little reason to develop a communal psychology as did the under-privileged. Nepalese people have increasingly been coming in close contact as a result of the revolution in transport and communication facilities in the country. in Gorkha. too. But during the last five decades.specially as seen in the birth of 'Bahun ethnicity' and 'Chhetri ethnicity Thus It indicates that the Bahun-Chhetris monopoly over power has already. as pointed out by Sharma. and Nepalization by imposing first coercive legal and then. religious groups. (a) extreme inequality in the distribution of resources. others strongly oppose the ethnic paradigm. The best answer to these curiosities was given by Cohen who said: "Ethnicity has no existence apart from inter-ethnic relations.25 Leaders of all political parties are divided within their parties on ethnic issues. 2 () INCREASING SIGNIFICANCE OF ETHNIC IDENTITY Many Nepalese wonder why there is an increasing significance of ethnic identity in an open society and why ethnicity did not matter much before 1990. Nepal Sadvabana Party has taken up the goal of safeguarding the ethnoregional concerns of Madhesiyas . The trend. following the East India Company's strategy of 'Divide and Rule. Unlike the dominant political parties. the person who won the race was selected as the king. then it should not be the monopoly of the ruling Hill Hindu Bahuns and Chhetris to define it according to their convenience to protect their vested interests. the hill Bahuns. says: "If national unity depends on the acceptance of a framework in which multiple cultures or flowers are allowed to compete without one dominating the whole system or garden.2" Historically. N Pvakurval : National lntergration ill Nepal 25 because these groups. therefore. With the reintroduction of the multi-party political system in 1990. cultural. Gurung argues: "National integration is a political idea and an ideal.' the Bahuns . alternative thinking about the concept of national integration is emerging. According to Sharma: An interesting current trend is that the Hindu caste groups are also beainninz to get 'conununalised. In Lig Lit. It. . It implies a national state where citizens have full right without any form of segregation. For example. that is.. One wonders how Bahuns-Chhetris would have responded Ir they were suppressed and oppressed like low caste and non-caste ethnic groups fill' two centuries? How might have the v reacted i( the next two centuries they have to live like low caste and non-caste ethnic groups or the IWf two centuries . before the so-called 'unification' of Nepal or the 'Gurkha expansionism' there were many independent small states. the high caste Hindu rulers imposed 'Gorkhanization.had formed part of the ruling class. Chhetris.. Bhattachan & K. have prompted various ethnic and underprivileged caste groups not only to rediscover and reconstruct their ethnic identity but also to assert it very strongly. B. were against social integration in Nepal. The Thakuri and Chhetri castes at the hills. In response to such challenges.. however. Fisher. that is. begun to erode to a point of threat that needs to be defended by them IInp!ymg that sharing or losing power is unacceptable. linguistic. IS that even the so-called culturally homogenous groups are beglllmn¥ to seek to build their new political and economic security under the spell of ethnicisation. arc beginning to show a tendency to look upon themselves as distinct cultural groups with separate roots and origin. In a marked contrast. and their social institutions and identities evolved during those times.

. It was Beenhakker who first disaggregated data about the various key positions in politics. and Darjceling of India and in Bhutan.T 20 Occasional Papers K B. Subhas Ghising of Darjeeling has been well known for his Greater Nepal slogan. Nepalese people living and working in various parts of India and Indian people living and working in various parts of Nepal also provide grounds for sensitive ethnic Issues in the two countries. On the other hand.i" The remaining 71 percent of the total population have been deprived of these positions for the last two centuries. The Nepalese press recently reported on the seizure by Nepal army of a sizable amount or arms from the walled township of Mustang. and regional groups. particularly Rautahat. bureaucratic. said to have occurred due to a take-over of the Lirnbu Kipat 32 land (communal land) by the Bahuns Although during the Jast three decades no serious violence has been reported. his scheduled visit to Kathmandu for a public address was thwarted when His Majesty's Government expressed its inability to provide adequate security for him Besides these factors. am there may be many such hotspots. Therefore. Therefore.DOO Bhutanese refugees in Eastern Nepal. and ethnic activists have lately begun to realize that Nepal harbors potentials for ethnic violence and communal riots. some endogenous factors have also been identified as potential threats to national integration by prominent social scientists: In Eastern Nepal. however. is 29 percent of the total population of Nepal. the population of Tarai is a little more than those of the hills and mountains put together." The hook hy Gaige (1975) focuses on the discrimination against the Madhesiyas (the people of Tarai) by the Pahadiyas (the hill people). are hotspots of Hindu-Muslim conflicts and also that Pakistan uses these areas as centers of underground subversive activities against India. Blw1fl/cllllll & K N Pvakurva! : NaII llnil I III tergrution In Nepal 27 HOTSPOTS OF ETHNIC CONFLICTS Viewed In a larger perspective. Assam. Mustang area has been very much in the news recently through the national and international press. and military on an ethnic basis and noticed persisting severe inequality between the hill Bahuns and Chhetris and others. all of India. Two. political leaders. Lionel Caplan has researched on Hindu-Tribal (hill Bahuns versus indigenous Limbus) conflicts. military. many social scientists. tension is mounting up due to the ongoing displacement of the indigenous people by the Hi 11 Bahuns. Bahun-Chhctris. and Nepalgunj. ethnic. Kirant Pradesh. whose total combined population. Nepal has given shelter to about 100. The process of repatriation has been very slow. The photo exhibition of the walled city in Lalitpur at the end of 1995 was actually related to the Free Tibet Movement in Nepal. Those hotspots. Kalaiya. depressed castes. in what is known a. arc fanning communal tension in various parts of Nepal. Madhesivas (the people of Tarai) have been deprived of their share in those positions." Early this year.dominant caste/regional groups." Finally. Nepalese press often reports that the RAW (Research and Analysis Wing). political groups like the Sadvabana Parishad (later party) and social groups like the Nepal Janajati Mahasangh picked up their ideas and hrought it up at the national political stage. and Siva Sena. differ sharply In the perspectives entertained by the various actor groups in the national scene . A large number of people of Nepali origin live in Sikkim. but control about 70 to 9() percent of the total key political. but all those positions arc controlled by Pahadivas (hill people). Meanwhile. the people of the Hills and Tarai people arc in direct conflict with each other. according to the census of 1991. In Nepal there are several hotspots of ethnic violence at the international level: The Indian news media often claim that some of the towns in Nepal Tarai. police. bureaucracy. The ethnic conflicts thus exist at two levels: One. Rastriva Swuvamsevak Sangh. Cameron. and Seddon. and police positions. Bir Nembangs Limhuan Mukti Morcha and Gopal Kharnbu's book Khamb uan k o A waj (The Voice of Khamhu People) arc its reflections. some conflicts between the Bhutanese refugees am the local community have also been reported. cited later by Blaikie. I . majority of the ethnic and low caste groups are in direct conflict with hill Bahun-Chhctris.

such as Nepal lanajati Mahasangh and its 22 affiliated ethnic organizations demand federalism or local autonomy." Nepal Janajati Party demands federalism based on the traditional 12 ethnic regional clusters but iLS opponents see it a. I'yllkllrm/ ." Still others insist that the voters use such right when they cast their ballots 011 the election day. Nepal Rastriya lana Mukti Morcha. including the purchase and sale of land. because a number of Iunajatis made public their decision to slaughter cows if the state was to take sides with the Hindus.' regional grounds. Others. but quite a few also advocate cession if the state continues to suppress their legitimate demands. Nepal Sadvabana Party."luI/owl! Iflfl'l'grallllll in Nepal 29 Traditionally. Therefore. for 'decentralization. In terms of faith.") The Hindu fundamentalists took it as a license for 'cow slaughter' and there was a nationwide uproar. for a 'Nepal Bandh: (Nation-wide Close Down) hy the Hindu fundamentalists. Chhctris. in meant more and more 'centralization. possibly because they hear an intense feeling of deprivation themselves versus the south and the center. . Nepal Sadvahana Party calls for federalism based on . instead. even a call. Hindus are in direct conflict with Muslims. not on ethnic or ecological But all the ruling political parties of the except Nepal Sadvabana Party. Citizenship Certificate: Citizenship is another vexlllg issue . influenced by either the leftist views or by the IlO and the Human Rights Commission of the United Nations. Those who stand for right to self-determination. Federalism or Local Autonomy: Ethnic and region-based political parties.-tl! Such policy vacillations could easily aggravate the situation further. The bandh. could have hrought a violent clash. Hill residents of the Far Western Region in Nepal had Human Rights and Rights of Indigenous People: Puhlic feelings ran high last yei.' which. and Vaishyas in the Tarai have been exploiting the untouchables (low caste groups). such demands and practice. BlliIllUcllll1l & K. past and present. irrelevant today due to the emergence of mixed communities in all those clusters. and programs at various levels. plans.v. For many ethnic groups eating beef is not a taboo. The Constitution docs forbid the slaughter of cows. but their demands differ at three levels. . They are: Right to Self-Determination: There is a demand for the right to self-determination by the indigenous peoples of Nepal. The principle is thus in sharp contrast with practice. The leaders of Nepal almost empathized with their neighbors in India during the Uttarakhand Movement last year. These ethnic hotspots can be managed and mediated only by ethnic approaches in policies. ISSUES AT STAKE There are many issues at stake that need immediate attention from the policy makers. But the government and many BahunChhctri leaders either deny the existence of such peoples or claim themselves to be as indigenous as others. Nepal Janejati Mahasangh and its affiliated ethnic organizations declared their intention to counteract it.-11 111e situation has been more confusing due to the open border between Nepal and India which leads to free movement of people from hoth sides. the dichotomy of the Hills and the Tarai. the right to selfdetermination is not applicable here." Such a situation itself might prove an explosive issue in the future. it is rather an established practice. JS a national animal. moreover. Recently. the HMG-N delegates to an UN conference in Geneva to discuss the draft of the rights of the indigenous peoples claimed that the UN's concept of indigenous peoples is inapplicable to Nepal. about 20 affiliated ethnic organizations of Nepal Janajati Mahasangh have claimed themselves to be the indigenous peoples of Nepal.L" there nrc scores of people who have not yet received their citizenship certificates without which they can not enjoy legally provided rights and privileges. Nepal Rastriya Jana Mukti Morcha advocates federalism based on administrative .2X Occasional Papers K. the high caste Hindu Bahuns. the Dalits (depressed caste groups) arc in and considerations. argue that since nations do not exist in Nepal.. Thakuris In the hills aOO the Brahmans. for the first lime in the history of Nepal. Demands for the rights of indigenous peoples arc increasing under the patronage of the United Nations which declared the International Decade for the World's Indigenous Peoples in 1994. Kshyatriyas. propose that the state should give this right to all ethnic groups. B. hut it also recognizes the religious rights of its citizens. have rejected go. and non-political organizations.. has only direct conflict with the high caste Hindus. In Nepal. such as Nepal Janajcti Party. which was called off at the last moment.U· when a minister of a left government announced that each ethnic group should he able to practice the human rights guaranteed hy the Constitution.

including the Nepali Congress Party. III the former USSR and Yugoslavia. and political participation of the ethnic groups and to eradicate negative discrimination and reinforce positive discrimination instead. they also ask why a deal language should he able to get such a high priority. crux of the issue is a cut-off date for citizenship certificates. such sentiments have been viewed hy the dominant group ilS nothing more except psychological upsurges against deprivation. The emerging ethnic conflicts and the economic reforms proposed hy the multi-national organizations have raised WIdespread concerns because the cxistinj. of .political. and has also started news broadcast in Sanskrit language alonv with a few other 'national languages. the shape of present-day Nepal may not long remain the same in the future. the failure of the process of social integration has led to separatist movcments in Sri Lanka. and to broadcast news from the state-owned Radio Ne[JaL (b) Compulsory Sanskrit education has been devised to reduce the scope of higher education of the non-Bahun-Chhctris because most Ianajati and non-Brahman Madhesiva students are likely to fail in such courses and' drop out at the school level. language. N. and cultural life of the Nepalese people is not. The sentiments of the various ethnic groups may he interpreted as ephemeral political gimmicks hut the recorded history of the past 200 years of Chhetri-Bahun domination in the political. social. religion. Nepal Communist Party (United Marxist and Leninist). order has tended to sustain the existine . Some ethnic groups have retained their dominance in the socioeconomic and political power structure. and economy. ecology. feudal relationships have survived. Legalization of ethnopolitics in such a context becomes 42 crucial I'or cthnodevelopment.': Ncwari.' that is. The aim of social and national 1Illegration IS not elimination of differences between the Dr ETHNIC RECONSCIENTIZA nON Political change in South Asia today is at a crucial historical juncture. Rationalization of such state recognition is perceived to he based on emotion rather than rationality. it is not in day to day use by the people. and Nepal Sadvabana Party. It will remain so in the future. The various facets of Nepalese policy making . and Gurung. India. then only their transformation into a real nation-state could he said to have begun. while others continue to suffer exploitation and denial of rights. United People's Front. PI"kUFW!: Nationul lntergration II! Nepo! 31 Sadvabana Party have called for facilitation of the process of citizenship certification. cultural. the modes of perception have changed. These perceptions have become mag1l1hed because while the traditional.311 O('uisioJlal Papers K B. Hindi. Sanskrit Education and News Broadcast: His Majesty's Government of Nepal has introduced compulsory Sanskrit language curricul um at the high school level. too: for example. economic. Nepal Janajati Mahasangh and some factions within the political parties. religious. In all multi-ethnic societies. Whereas the opponents of Sanskrit argue that there arc dozens 'national languages' that should get priority in the news broadcast because a Iarze number of people speak these languages. CONCLUSION Nepal has been a country of extreme diversity in terms of cthnicity. The reasons forwarded arc: (a) Sanskrit is a 'dead language. /JIW(Wc!WIl e{ K. however. When Nepalese people living within a defined political houndary begin to sec their common destiny in living together retaining all their di vcrsitics. "I1lC real. So far.should reflect its diverse composition and the dominant national political parties should take a leading role to ensure sufficient socio-economic. and ideological . despite recent political changes. This is true elsewhere. Rai. which could thus spawn far reaching negative effects on the process of social and national integration. social. isolated ethnic groups to come close together than ever before. and Bhutan. hut if these grievances take the form of political movement. But government efforts have been less than serious. ~ socro-cconormc inequalities. have. T. But in that process they have also started to perceive and fcc I more clearly and more closely the stark discrepancies and glaring disparities that exist in the arena of SOCIal justice am~ng various ethnic groups. strongly protested against such government decisions.man~. Ma~r. Pakistan. Improved transportation and communication networks in Nepal have helped the diverse. cultural. Further delay on the issue could set off widespread communal violence. the lack of reforms has now ai:hl another new dimension: thc problem is how to reform the state in a situation where political power is shared among different ethnic communities. (c) These moves arc a part of the process of Hinduization ina heterogenous Nepalese social system which puis the nonBahun-Chhetri people in disadvantage. ThIS necessitates a new set of social relations based on equality and social justice which means a new process of ethnic reconsc icntiznuun must cvul vc. and it is useless to make it a compulsory course at the high school level. Although ethnic conflicts and their resolution have now occupied the center of the democratic agenda in a number of South Asian countries.

outlet for political tcnsions' J 4. not written by the king but by some officials of the Gurkha palace. This article is a revised version of a paper presented at a seminar on Ethnicity and Nation-Building organized jointly by the Central Department of Sociology and Anthropology and The South Asia Institute of the University of Heidelberg in Kathmandu. See Sharma (1994) for issues related to Islam religion in Nepal. Krishna B. and human rights of all ethnic groups on equal terms fostering the process of social integration. See Fisher (1993: 14). and the Indo-Aryan language speaking groups are termed 29. Nepali (1995). Such titles were given to many other ethnic groups. particularly Jut and Varna. chose to specify the situation in terms of four castes and thirty-six Varnas. See Oahal (1994). 23. 14. See NPC/HMG-N (I 995c). 10. and Sharma (1986) For discussion about ethnicity. 5. two. See Gurung (1989: 133). 19. According to Wallerstein: There are four principal ways in which ethnicity serves to aid national integration. S. 32. See Poudyal (1992:134). ethnic groups tend to assume some of the functions of the extended family and hence they diminish the importance of kinship roles. see Manandhar and Amatya (1989). For detail about language issues. Brahman. See HMG-N (1990:9). and Sharma (1992). The Tibeto-Burman language speaking ethnic groups are generally called Theprhes. The state should design plans. and Thapa (1994) for detailed analysis of right to self-determination. fourth. Dahal (1993). Also. 13. in fact. instead. policies. Prithvi Narayan Shah. 9. then a practical alternative would be to replace cow as a sacred national animal by another animal which would not hurt the sentiments of all religious groupsin Nepal. see Bista (1995). See NPC/HMG-N (1995 a. three. political. See Blaikie. Nepali (Tribhuvan University) for his thoughtful comments. See HMG-N (1990:9). 38. 39. 21. See Bhattachan (1995). 30.Orcasionul Papers K. ethnic groups serve as a mechanism of resocialization. N. and Shudra. and Seddon (1980). 17. 3. for Khas ethnicity. Some Nepalese historians say informally that the Dibya Up adesh was. A Task Force on the Foundation for Upliftment of the Nationalities identified 61 nationalities in Nepal (see HMG-N 1996). See Caplan (1970). and TNCIYIWIP-N (1993) . For protecting diversity within a framework of shared values. Bhattachan. See Nepali (1995). for analysis in detail of federalism and local autonomy. The authors thank Prof. 2. viz. and there are many castes within each of these four categories.political. Shah (1992). See Dahal (1992). 8. served as a member of this task force. The Tibeto-Burrnan language speaking ethnic groups do not perceive them as falling under any of these Varnas and caste groups because these are applicable to Hindus only. see NJM (1993). policies. and social . Sec Bhattachan (1994: 143). NACIIDWIP-N (1994). Subba is a title given by the rulers to the local administrative authorities. and Rose (1994). 1995. Ibid. 6. See Shah (1993) for details about Christianity in Nepal. For a discussion on the concept of Gorkhanization. the government should ensure participation of different groups of people. Manandhar and Amatya (1989). and so prevent the emergence of castes.d. For detailed data. Magar (n. Dahal (1993). Chuchches. see O'Neill (1994). Indigenous peoples include the Newars. TIle people who are in the high seats of power should seriously take up the ethnic approach as a critical measure for solution. Bhnitachan & K. First. and Toba (1992). 22. Nepal. See Sharma (1992:8). For a detailed analysis of such issues during the partyless Panchayat period. 7. In brief. See Bhattachan (l993b). See NLPRC (1993: 10-11). 12. 35. see Gaige (1975). 24. Kshyatriya. including the Thakalis and the Gurungs in the western part of Nepal. and Pyakuryal (1982). Jha (1993). one of the authors of this article. if status quo continues. NOTES I. economic. see Bhattachan (l993a). See Beenhakkcr (1973). See Cohen (1978:389). and 1995b). ethnic groups help keep the class structure fluid. 25. For such harmony to attain. see Bhattachan (1994). Fisher (1993). For an analysis of the issues related to national integration and disintegration after the people's movement of 1990. The time bomb of ethnic violence is already ticking and no one knows when it will detonate. Sce Bhattachan (1994: 135). widening disparities . Cameron. Different scholars translate this saying in different ways. G.. For details on the movement. Koirala (1995). J. economic. Vaishya. ethnic groups serve as an. 36 37. According to the Hindu Varna model developed in Manusmriti.. and Jha (1993). The Nepal Junajati Party was not recognized by the National Election Commission of His Majesty's Government on communal ground. see Beenhakker (1973). 33 34. See Bharrachan (1994: 138). the Nepalese people will have to pay dearly at the cost of the nation's peace and prosperity. and Jha (1993) for details on such conflict. 27. Gaige (1975). 18. on December 22-23. If cow slaughter hurts the sentiments of the Hindus. 28.B.R (1973). 15. But there is still time to correct the present course and prevent disaster. there are four Varnas. For. if Nepal intends to prepare itself for the twenty-first century as a prosperous and peaceful society.). 31. Gurung (1989). due possibly to an error (or a mistake') in the choice of terms. and programs to minimize and eliminate all kinds of state-promoted and -protected discrimination and ensure the socio-cultural. For details about the ethnic issues raised during the making of the constitution. 20. see Aryal (1994). II. all plans. See HMG-N (1990:11). This alone can ultimately lead to national integration. Pvakurvul : Ncuional Iruergration in Nepal 33 different ethnic groups but to recognize and respect such differences and make conditions conducive for the communities to live together in a more productive way within an established national boundary. 26.need to be reduced. See Dixit (1993). and programs should place the ethnic paradigm at the center of these activities. 16. Gaige (1975). H. Poudyal (1992).

State. Khas of Chudabisa. Publishing House Pvt. . Order Number 9407886. Number 2. 1975 Regionalism and National Unity in Nepal. Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu on December 10. Kathmandu: Centre for Nepal and Asian Studies (CNAS). Kathmandu: Kanung Laam Publications (text in Nepali). Leadership and Politics in Nepal. Number 2. Number 3. 1973 "Angry Hills.. Nature & Culture: Random Reflections. Number 5. Krishna B. Annual REFERENCES Aryal. Volume 7. Dar Bahadur 1995 Daha\. Dahal. 124-147. NovemberlDecember \994. HMG-N 1990 The Constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal-1990. 43. Dilli Ram \993 Bhattachan. paper presented at a national seminar on "Indigenous Peoples of Nepal: Identification of Problem and Its Solution". Caplan. Kanung Laam. 1996. B. Krishna B. edited by Dhruba Kumar. and Jha (1993).34 Occasional Papers K. Himal. organized by Research Center for Nepal and ASIan Studies (CNAS). Number 2. & D. by Harka Gurung. Kanung Laam.10. Volume 8. Krishna B." pp. Nepalka Adibasiharu: Abadharana ra .. Volume 5. Himal. Kathmandu: Centre for Nepal and Asian Studies (CNAS).. May/June 1992.148-170. March/April. Demography and Minority Politics: The Case of Nepal." pp.133-148. Rotterdam: Rotterdam University Press. organized by Center for Nepal and Asian Studies (CNAS). 1993 (text in Nepali). Volume 6. N. Himal. March/April. Bhattachan. Ministry of Law and Justice. Gurung. Volume 1. Dixit.II-14." pp.45-48.. \993). Leadership and Politics in Nepal.. Himal. Michigan: Ann Arbor. pp. William F. Delhi: Oxford University Press." pp. HMG-Nepal. "Ethnic Cauldron. Kathmandu: Ms Saroj Gurung. Bhattachan & K. 1993 "Nationalism and the Janajati. Manisha 1994 Beenhakker. Ltd. Dahal." pp. 17-18. 41. Tribhuvan University. Bista. Bhattachan. Pyakuryal: National Intergration in Nepal 35 40.\ 0-2\. Blaikie. A. Volume 6. J. Public Debate on Development: Sociological Perspectives 1993 a on the Public Philosophy of the Development (If Nepal. Kathmandu: Kanung Laam Publications. UMI. Dilli Ram \994 Nepalka 'Adibasi' haru ? Samajik Samrachana ra Arthik Sthiti ra Yes bare Utheka Kehi Prasnaharu ('Indigenous Peoples' of Nepal? Their Social Structure and Economic Condition and QUestions Raised). See Wallerstein (1971: 673). Nepalma Adibusiharuko Sthiti ra Punarsthapanako Prasna 1995 ("The Condition of Indigenous Peoples in Nepal and The Question of Their Re-establishment"). Piers. 1993. Volume I. see also pp.. See Bhattachan (1995). Lionel 1970 Land and Social Change in East Nepal. Krishna B. State. Cohen.3. pp. 1993. Gaige. Kanak Mani 1993 "Looking for Greater Nepal. Ethnopolitics and Ethnodevelopment: An Emerging Paradigm 1994 in Nepal. Number 6. Harka 1989 "Making of a Nation. Berkeley: University of California Press. Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu on December 10. edited by Dhruba Kumar. Ronald 1978 "Ethnicity: Problem and Focus in Anthropology. Cameron.15-19. a paper presented at a national seminar on "Indigenous Peoples of Nepal: Identification of Problem and Its Solution".." pp. Seddon 1980 Nepal in Crisis: Growth and Stagnation at the Periphery. Number 3. Dilli Ram 1992 "Grasping the Identity. 5-9. Pahichan 1993b (Indigenous Peoples of Nepal: Concept and Identification). pp. 1993 (text in Nepali). Frederick H. 42. Bhattachan. Delhi: Vikas Fisher. See Gaige (1975). I .. May/June 1995. Doctoral Dissertation (University of California at Berkeley. Himal." Review of Anthropology. An Uttarakhand State of Mind. A Kaleidoscopic Circumspection of Development Planning with Contextual Reference to Nepal. Personal communication with the officials of the Nepal Janajati Mahasangh. Tribhuvan University.

Bhag Ek: Mul Pratibedan. "Ethnicity and National Integration in Nepal: a Statement of the Problem. "The Gospel Comes to the Hindu Kingdom. NPC/HMG-N 1995a NPC/HMG-N 1995b NPC/HMG-N 1995c O'Neill. Volume 5." pp. Prayag Raj 1992 . Nepal: NAC/IDWIP-N." pp.R. Number 1.7-9.129-l35. National Language Policy Recommendation Commission (NLPRC) 1993 Rastriya Bhasa Niti Sujhab Avogko Pratibedan 2050 (The Report of the National Language Policy Recommendation Commission-I 993). Bikas tatha Yojana: Kehi Sumsyamutak Bichar (Development and Planning: Some Problematic Thoughts) Kathmandu: Research Center for Economic Development and Administration. Hari Bansh 1993 The Terai Community and National Integration in Nepal. Ethnicity and Identity in Nepal. Nepal Janajati Mahasangh (NJM) 1993 Nepalma Bhasik Samasya ra Nirakaranka Upayaharu (Language Problems in Nepal and Ways to Its Solutions). Suresh Ale Magar. HMG-Nepal. Number 5. Volume 5. pp.I03-119. Kendriya Sangathan Samiti (text in Nepali). 1982)." pp. Himal. Number I. "Throes of a Fledgling Nation. His Majesty's Government. A Report of the Task Force on the Foundation for Upliftment of the Nationalities. Number 3. Lapsiphedi. 1995). 1995 (October 1995). Number 2. Tri Ratna & P K. Ministry of Local Development. 'The Nepali Ethnic Community in the Northeast of the Subcontinent. 1995.19-28. Leo E 1994 Manandhar. Ananta 1992 Magar. text in Nepali). Janajati Awa). Contributions to Nepalese Studies. Jha. Saun-Asoj. South Asia Democracy and The Road Ahead. Kathmandu: Nyayik Manch (text in Nepali). March/April 1992. Kathmandu: Political SCIence Association of Nepal. Order Number DA8303837. 35-40. pp. Pyakuryal. Saubhagya 1992 Shah. May/June 1992.36 Occasional Papers K B. 1995 (July Commission. and Nanda Kandangwa. Bhasa ra Nepalko Akhandata (Caste.45-72. Annual Program. Caste and National Integration in Nepal. Volume 6. 1995 Nepalma Ianajati Samasyuko Samadhan: Rastriya AtmaNimayako Adhikar wa Sthaniya Swashashan (A Solution to the Ethnic Problem in Nepal: Right to National SelfDetermination or Self-Rule). Volume 6. Ann Arbor. Tribhuvan University (text in Nepali)." pp. "How to Tend this Garden?" pp. Suresh Ale (n. Doctoral Dissertation. Kailash N. "Nepal: Ethnicity in Democracy. 1994. Language and Nepal's Integrity). National Planning Annual Program. Number 3. Ethnic Studies Report. J. October 21. September/October 1993. HMG-Nepa!. 14-16. Nepal: Centre for Economic and Technical Studies (CETS) in cooperation with Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (PES). Rolamba. Koirala.134-148. Gopal Singh 1995 "Tribe. Number 2. Nepal. Himal." pp. edited by Lok Raj Bara!. Volume 9. Pyakuryal : National lntergration in Nepal 37 HMG-N 1996 Janajati Vilhan Pratisthanko Karyadalko Pratibedan. 42-53. Akhil Nepal Janajati Sammelan. Prayag Raj 1986 Sharma. Tirtha 1995 Poudyal. Shah. National Planning Commission. Ethnicitv and Rural Development: A Sociological Study of Four Tharu Villages in Chitwan. Saubhagya 1993 Sharma. "Peoples and Polity: Ethnography. pp. Contributions 10 Nepalese Studies. 7-10. Number 2. Madison." pp.l15. Nepali. Number 2. 1994). edited by Parshuram Tamang.) 1995 Marxbud ra Nepalma Iutiya Sawal (Marxism and the Question ofEthnicity in Nepal). Proceedings of the National Consultation on Indigenous Peoples of Nepal (March 23-26. January 1994. 1982 Rose. Himal. January 1994.d.1995. 2052 (text in Nepali).." paper presented at the 24th Annual Conference on South Asia. Kathmandu. Volume 21. Tom 1994 Annual Program. National Planning Commission. HMG-Nepal. National Ad Hoc Committee for International Decade for The World's Indigenous Peoples Nepal (NAC/IDWIP-N) Indigenous Peoples of Nepal towards Self-Identitication and Re-establishment." pp. Jati. Bhattachan & K N. Kathmandu: NPRC (text in Nepali). Michigan: UMI. Wisconsin. Volume 13. Lalitpur. Pashupati Shumsher 1973 Samajik Ekadhikar ra Rastriya Ekata (Social Monopoly and National Unity). Amatya 1989 "Political Process and National Integration in Nepal. Volume XII. Nepal (unpublished report. 1982 (Michigan State University. Kathmandu: Nepal Janajati Mahasangh (text in Nepali). Himal.B.

' umber 6. Kendri ya San garhan :1111111 (lex 1 III epali). j umber . which Magar Commun ity. not alway well defined . like the whole ulture of whi h the form a part. ists a signific ant cthn graphic literature on the W' fun cti \ 'all 19 I tcin . n I Cumrniuee for the International ear \ 199 3): rid' lndiccnous Peopl . November/ Dec ember If) 4 NeJ'I/IIIW Janaja ti Samsyaku Samadhan. a gro up of people who participate together in the performance of religious ritual s". This 'social unit' i. but in some CID'CS it appear to be . Ritual . . have lh ir c onomic aspects as well the ecological ones and thi ritual may he considered a typical way of the Iagar way of adapting to their cnvir nmcnt . it hID' nev 'r been highlighted 0 far. .1-1. Thrs article intends to ntribut e : liul in lhat dire .. or relationships occurring within a 'social unit' of so me s rt. edi ted y Jason L Fin le d RI hard I Gable 'c Y ric John It i1e) ' Sons. rdinatc various ritual of the Put briefl y.. Rule : 0 pp. Akhil. • Magars otherwi e. As Rappaport believed and quoted. Rastn v I Atma· I 'imava "1 Sthaniva SwashtLrlulII [Sc luuon I the • hni Problem m 'epal: Righi 1 Sd f. Its function is 11 01 related 10 the world external 10 the society but to the 'internal co nstituti n of the ociety'.thaI is one reason for calling them ritual. aOO fe ti al f th Iagars f w t 'epa! i Bheja tha t affcc aim t every sphere of their day-to-daj life. ' ritual actio ns' do not produce a practical result on the extern al world .Occas ional Papers hanna. fc us. But 10 make this statement is ' not to say that ritual has no function'. 5 O.. Bh :la. Although there e . It gives the rnernber of the soc iety confidence. Volume 7. Pari 19 " Hu w the Crescent Fares in Nep al : ' pp . n or df.. ustria. June t -25 Toba. e nl! editi n. h lp t establish and maintain the ornmunity ith a crtain y tern of produ ti n and enabl it lO intern t harm oni u I with nature. it also dispels their anxietie . 1994 Thapa. cnts fairly the dominant line of anthropol ogical thought concerning the functions of religiou s ritua l. udhindn. Thi analy i and imerpreuuion of Bheja i primaril guided by the fa tors delineated by Rappaport" propo ilion in his recognized work Ritual Regulation of Environmental Relations among a / ell' Guinea People. it di ciplines their oc ial orga niza tio n. lrnmanuel "Ethm Il} and arional Integration in W 1 Inca. the follow ing statement by Hornans ( 1941: 172) repre. Acco rding to him. epal (ll'iClY IP·. a cong regation. ') Coun/T) Paper nil Indige nous Peoples 0 epal prepared on the occasion of U' orld lhe Con erence n lIum n Rights III Vienna. • ep I ! najan ammelan." pp. H proposes that rna t of the functional tudies of religious behaviors in aruhropol ogy have as an analytical goal the elucidation of events. Ia naj ati A" y. uey 1992 hr Sure h Dhakal wngull/:C Issues tationers III Nepal Kathman du: md:ut B iI~ nc imp rtant i infi rmal ultural in nitution that regulates all the n . . 9. proce 'se '.ti n. Himal.Dclcn ninali. Polin <Z1 D/!"elllpmenl and OCIal Change . 669· 676.

that is one reaso n for calling the m rit ua l. As Rapp aport beli e ved and qu led . Number 6. Himal. Kathman d u: tarioners amdan B Wall' rem." pp. but in so me cases it a ppears 10 be . Ritual '. This anal)' is and interpretation of 811 oja i primarily guided by the fa to delineated by Rappap rt's propo ition in his recognized work Ritual Regulation oj Environmental Relations among a J ell' Guinea People. 669676... He propose: thai mo s t of the functio nal tudies f rel igio us beh vie rs in anthropology have as an analytical goal the elucid ati on of events.. ' ritual ac tions ' do 11 0 t produce a practical result on the externa l world . il hal n \ 'r been highlighted 0 far.OC 'C<IJIIJnll/ Papers Sharma. Akhll . 811 ifa.. the following stateme nt by Hornans ( 194 1: (72 ) represents fairly the dom inant line of ant hro pol ogical th o ugh 1 co ncerning the functi o ns of re ligi ous rit ua l. Immanuel "Ethmcity and N:uional Integration in 1971 I Inca. 'ep al 'C IY Ip · . Austria. aOO fesu I f the Magars f we t epa) i Bheja that affcc aim 1 ev ry sphere f their day-to-day life.14. 9. Jun e 14-25 . According 10 him. uey hi Suresh Dhakal 1992 Langue 'e Issues in Nepal. like the whole culture of wh i h they fonn a pan. lion I Co mmiuee for the lruernational Year \ 199 3): \ rid' Indigeno us Peopl . eco nd ed iti n. imava I Sthaniya Swashashan ( oluti n 10 the Erhni Probl em in lepal: Right 10 Seli-Detcrm inan on ?r • elf. ew Y rk. 5-40. Thi article inte nds to o ntri bute a lilli e in that direction : Put briefly. ammelan . Toba. 1994 udhindru " Ho w the Cre cent Fares in Nepal . Political Dewdi/pmi'nl and octal Chan e. a co ngregatio n. But to make th is uatem cnt is ' no t to say that ritu al has no functi on '. feas . Novcmbcr/Dec'mbcr 1994 Th pa. have th ir economic aspects as well the ecol ogi . or relatio nships occ urri ng w ith in a 'soc ial unit ' of so me so rt. Rule) : umber . I epal ~ najau pp. which rdinatc various ritual of the Magar C ommunity . • fI~ ne imp rtant i infi rmal ultural in titution that regulates all the fun lion. G a le . P ri 199 I epa lma Ianajati Sam syako Sumadhan: RCI tn v I A lm~ . a grou p of people wh o particip ate toge ther in the performa nce of religiou s ritual s" . ' ) Country Paper nn Indigenous Peop le: 0 epal pre pared n lhe oc a-ion o f U "s Wor ld tbe Confe rence n Il urna n Righ ts in Vienna." pp . it di ciplin es their so cial o rga nizatio n. Ia naj ati AII'a}. W . not alway we ll defined . Its fun cti on is not related l the world ex terna l to the soci ety but to the 'interna l co n tituti on of the oc icty' . h lp t tabli sh and maintain the ornmunity \ ith a certain y tern of produ ti n aOO enabl it to intern t harmoniou Iy \ ith nature. It gives the member of the so ciety confidence. processes. Volume 7. edited by Jas on L Fin ' lind Ric hard \ .al o nes and thi ritual may he co nside red a typi al way of the Magar way of adapting to their envir nrnent . Th i 'soc ial unit' i. John Wile} Sons. Kendriya Sangarhan anuu (It:X I 111 epali ). it also dispe ls their anx ietie . Allhough there e: i IS a s ignifi ant cthn graphi literature on the Magars otherv i c.

But there is no hierarchical stratification among them and all arc [reared equally (Baral 050: 30). No specific quality or criterion has to he fulfilled to become a member. Since this article is about one specific cultural tradition of the Magars. Politically. A considerable amount of grain they produce is spent in making joa. Employment in foreign army is much sought alter for both status and financial reasons. They lU'C very fond of jut and raksi. who carry the legacy of both thc rulers and subjects. There may he more than one Bheja in n single community cluster and a single Bheja may include more than one cluster. invited members can neither be the Mukhiya (the chairperson) nor a Pujari (the priest). As one of the most numerous indigenous groups of the country. Moreover. Recently. which is heavily influenced hy their subsistence pattern and exploitative technology or vice versa.. Thus. militarily. For instance. Nevertheless." During the study period in the field. Recruitment in the British and Indian army has always remained a center of attraction for most. which is practiced only for survival. a pariah status. They rather tended to refer to times unknown on the origin of the community itself. they occupied a high position in the social scale in the past. however. it will he relevant to highlight the Magars in brief. They arc rather deeply attached to it. Each and every household of the cluster is supposed to be a member. and socially. they consider themselves Hindus. the tradition I swell established and accepted although still sans a rigorous definition. Baral 050: 28). A member may he suspended. some of them who are working for upliftrncnt of the group claim that they an: aim ing to gain their 'lost' status. But. folklore or custom. a painstaking task to trace out its origin and development. Wherever and whatever the condition they may he in. III its religious functions. hut now are suffering from a certain inferiority complex.40 S /Jllilk"l:llhcliI "I' (j SlmIC~IC CI/I//II'<11 C"'"'I'lIli"" 41 Bheja is an organized body to gain some social goal even though there is no vertical hierarchy to he achieved among the members. they arc divided into hundreds of sub-castes (Sharma 049: 279. However. Some also claim that they arc Buddhists (Bista: Hirnal 5: 10). but they have definitely more limited roles than the Magars may have. it IS so deeply rooted in their lifestyles that it seems difficult for them to confine it to a single dcfiniuon. have developed some of their own specific cultures. nowadays they have become so widely scattered that they an: not new to any other place or group within Nepal.'h-atever controversy there may be about their position in the Hindu caste ladder (or debate on their Hindu identity). '0.. even hy the relatively prosperous individuals of the community. The outside world. While the other two traditions have been studied and analyzed in detail. if not all the. they can not even think of their life in its absence. Their economy is subsistcntial. 111e younger ones try to regard their group identity 1Il light of the contribution made bv their forefathers in the process of national integration." which resembles Guthi of the Ncwars. It LS. Magars have been recognized as simple. religion. therefore. too. polite. Bista is of the opinion that Bahuns arc to be blamed for it (Bista: Himal 052: 10). Its existence allows the social/cultural anthropologists to explore and extract the facts about Bheja.:: considered to he the indigenous people of thc IX/llUi Magarat' (Iitcrally. the more traditional/older among them arc probably likely to reply that it is the possession of their own language. primarily based on agriculture. Certain Bhejas may allow even the non-Magars to become members.:s not mean that it has a rudimentary existence among them. and consider these an inseparable part of their life. In fact. no one was found who could spcci fically trace its origin and historical course of development. they love to maintain their cultural identity. Thus. they hold a significant place It1 terms of population compos iuon .! and raksi (locally brewed heel' and liquor). and sacrificial in nature. came to know of Magars only after the British began recruiting soldiers in Nepal for their Gurkha regiment. honest. However. Even today. hut exclusion leads to social ostracrsm. 111<: Magars. there arc significant differences. the twelve regions of the Magarx). The size of the Bheja may differ according to the size of the cluster and any geographical and other forms of disparities. In this context. one can observe many such traditions that still exist. or excluded if he docs not attend pooja. Bheja is one prominent example of such specific tradition which helps to keep the community intact and functioning. if asked what makes them a distinct social group. This ignorance do. purged. it is not like any . including the untouchable households of the same and a neighboring cluster if the Magars are dominant and others are in minority. Blieia remains a novel theme for study. As a matter of fact. brave. and Dhikuri of the Thakalis in its economic functions. and they arc well recognized for their sacrificial spirit and bravery among the armies. No etymological meaning of Bheja exists in the Magar and Nepali languages. Bheja is Bheja and may mean many things.\· (worship) without a serious reason and if he docs not agree to abide by its rules and regulations. ORGANIZA nON Bheja is a colloquial term." The Ml:gars are Mongoloid in appearance and speak a Tibcto-Burrnan dialect. young Magars.

he chairs the meetings and plays a key role in making some concrete decisions. a general assembly of the organization. The day differs from place to place and Irorn group to group. However. such as prayers for sol iciting blessing. This appears . Ball Ihankri pooja arc forms of their ancestral worship Every such pooja has a legend directly related to the history of their forefathers. These functions. Areas around such places remain densely green. Poornima. he even orders members to carry out some speci fie jobs. and the system of production in the changing context. Called Mukhiva. it functions to maintain and modify the cultural traditions. This is the time when the rules and regulations . river. Abolition of old customs and practices and adoption of new ones consutute its central tasks (Baral. in most or the cases.c.which works ~1. however. Rather they select an unmarried boy from their own community.o. Panch Another signi ficant cultural practice of the community is Nutley. outsiders and strangers were prohibited to enter the village and villagers to go outside on the day of Natlev.day. ard other important mailers nrc discussed and decided for the year following. ThIS system prevails in other communities. In some areas they simply select Monday or Wednesday. a day when people do not work outside the house. 124). there is a special Bheja event . Baje-Bajai Pooja. Sometimes. They regard themselves as Hindus and some claim that they arc Buddhists. Certain special functions. a man assigned by Bheja.1. he docs not enjoy any particular right or privilege. They also worship the sun. the Mukhivai offers dhup (incense) to Bhumi (the earth). Sacri ficcs of pigs. an aged and respected male member of the community is the chairman. disaster may follow. It seems a formal role which docs not differ much from the role of other members. agricultural celebrations (for instance. The defaulters were penalized. if necessary. In the past. R/uja manages and makes ail the arrangements for poojas which arc performed on some particular days of the various seasons. In the various poojas (worships) performed. For poo]« they do not employ any outsider or high caste priest. Yet one common rule is that any decisions regarding religious activities (such annual poojasi and social. but their religious traditions and practices indicate they arc animists. however. Ram. or Kali. They believe that if they do not worship properly and are unable to appease the ancestral sprits. Krishna. Often. hut it is more common among the Magurs. when village mailers arc discussed at length. Generally. corrected or revised. goats. performed by the Mukhiv«. Therefore they arc loyal to their ancestors and worship them with devotion and piety.LS their way to maintain a close relationship with nature.U1l[ fowls are slaughten. wages. Parange pooja. can be viewed from different perspectives some of which have been briefly discussed below. No household would miss the occasion. the new moon.' They certainly 00 not worship idols of gods or goddesses such as Vishnu. On such a day Bheja (i. called P({I1C/Ui Bali. snake. It allows people and their oxen rest after a long tiring agricultural work and . . But. he is selected by a meeting of the members of the Bhe]« after the demise of the previous one. and the Mukhiva is selected. Laxmi. Primarily. too. and earth as gods and goddesscs.42 Occasional PaIN''-s S Dilllkil I" Hluj<l 1/. Manduli Baje-Bajai Pooja. a Pujari (priest) is also needed. Kaliya Mai Pooja. also annually. Generally. often. a belief system which is a form of their ecological adaptation. Rather they worship their ancestors in one or other forms.1' "Slrulcgli Cultur«! C(!!}lmr"'JI 4:1 ethnocentric institution or organization which raises voice for ethnic sovereignty and caste purity. are. FUNCTION There arc no formal. Tl1 arrange pooja. In some areas it is also known us Chandi Bheja.. The place for the ceremony is fixed by the Bhe]a itself. Poojas of ancestors and nature take place seasonally and. since It is fixed by Bheja. a meeting is called to fix the date arxl asxign roles and duties to members. who is generally called Kuwara or Kumar (an unmarried lad).uKI fowls arc necessary lor all such poojas except ill Panch Kanva Ma! Poo]a where slaughtering of pigs is not permitted but live different kinds of animals . Around the last month of every year. social order.Susupak Bheja . Such pooja: do not require temples and specific shrines for deities.U\~ made. called Main Dhare The local people interpret Nalley in their own ways. as other Hindus do. 'The system therefore has acquired a certain 'convcrvauonist color". Agricultural Functions Religious Functions Magar community is a self-perpetuating saturated community. Beskang Bajaipooja. OSO. . His presence and suggestions arc expected in all meetings. and is no more than a titular figure. IS observed as the day of Natley or it is Aunsi. they choose a hill-top nearby. the full moon day. specially on the farm. specific rules regulating and binding the various social functions that Bhl'ja serves. Therefore they call it riti-thiti basalne Bheja (norm-establishing Bhejai. tree. in the middle of the forest where CUlling timber and livestock grazing is banned. natlcv: an off day) arc taken at the Bheja meetings. meat price. male buffaloes.

In managing common property. The issues decided by Bheja on such occasions arc collective in nature: who is in severe need and which part of the forest is to be used for the purpose. and sometimes by a temporarily formed labor group known as Bhaijeri (or Hom in certain areas). The Magars therefore (Xl not lace lahor crisis during the peak farming seasons. such as death. the piglets are bought for the future pooja. even social conflicts. and trails are taken up by the people according to the decisions taken in the Bheja meetings. not Rs. 50. no wanton slashing and burning is permitted. An indigent member household. They then prefer to buy them from the members of the same Bheja. the community allows Khoria cultivation. However. floods. . for it is then the best alternative for deficit food management. if the price' of pork is 40 rupees per kg at one Bheja and Rs. Thus the market is also ensured for sale of the livestock raised. Such regular meetings make social interaction also possible. they need them at the time of pooja. But it can now fix and even revise the wage for labor. The Magar community is an exception in this context. Half of such money goes to the household which reared the pigs and. In some cases. of course. taken against those who violate the rules and regulations. which encourages some of Bheja is one appropriate way of community management of public resource. 40. Bheja is also taking on the form of a local selfhelp hank. the system also solves the problem of scarcity of sacrificial animals. Part of the money is used to buy household items such as s. such meat is not sold to the outsiders or those who arc not the members of thc body. however. Khoria is done on a private those. and cooking utensils. Bheja thus plays a quite effective role. they are rented. 50 per kg in the next one. its direct influence can he seen in the various decisions that directly or indirectly affect the economy of both the Magar village and its individuals. The sacrificial pork is distributed among all the member households. In this way. a part of the traditional farming system of the Magar people. and pests. sherma is paid to the owner. he pays Rs. slash hushes. Resource Management Economic Significance Although Bheja does not operate any particular economic activity directly. This also prevents weeds and wild plants from growing. to be refunded when another member needs that money for some serious occasion. utilized at the time of feasts and other rituals. When not in use. Decisions arc made and implemented on the hasis of consensus of the members. Some Bhejas have started now rearing animals for sacrifice. or accident. jugs. Khoria (the slash-and-hurn mode of agriculture). consumer groups have been formed for resource utilization and management. Individual loans arc also offered to fellowmembers. Bheja performs Important management functions by fixing the price of sacrificial meat which is to he charged from the member households. Bheja fixes the date for work in the field and all households get an opportunity to OJ their work properly on time and according to their need. is applied to the slopes of the government forest. They cut down small trees. In most of the area. In many rural areas. serious illness. cups to drink j(Jod. was not started for such farm work. Although every member household does not keep fowls and goats. Bheja. is given the piglets for rearing. Dhilkal:Hhe)/l as /I Strategic Cultura! COl/veil/ion 45 gives them time to spend with their own family. 'The actions. TIle price of the pork thus fixed is often considerably lower than the one prevailing in the market. However. such a practice has now been banned for various reasons. Most of the agricultural works arc done by what goes hy the name of Parima (reciprocal exchange of labor).44 S. in periods of drought and shortfalls in production caused by hai Istorms. them to rear such animals as a major source of income. and punishments. If. a certain amount of money is collected from every member household to huy piglets. For this purpose. Since the area is densely populated by Magars and they need such animals at the time of pooja.ccl plates. arc all determined by Bheja. fines. Now some of the Bhejas of the study area have started raising levy from member households. Activities such as construction and repainnent of irrigation canals. For example. which can not huy and rear its own animal. Wage labor is not considered a prestigious job and only the landless people are invol vcd in it for their livelihood. But keen competition for scarce resources has brought failure of such groups. it sometimes becomes necessary to procure animals from other communities. with the other hall'. jars. Apart from the economy it hrings. and if the member of the latter one wants to buy the pork form the former one. Often those who cultivate Khoria land must offer a part of the grain harvested or money as rent or sherma to the Bheja. Thus formed labor groups arc regulated by Bheja and are not offered any wage except two meals and drinks (Baral 050: 58). and hum them so that they provide nutrients to the crops. kachauras. The money collected is lent out to the members with an interest. roads.

Dispute Mediation In ordinary circumstances. participate. Some women also participate in pooja. During the thirteen days or mourning (teru din kriva bosnes. Although Bheja performs regular religious tasks of the community.) not favor high-yield cultivation. Some 'higher caste' people are of the opinion that rituals have impoverished quite a few Magars. On CONCLUSION . Children arc held back from schools.Blwfll us (I Strategic Cultural Convention 47 Nutrition Since the geo-climatic conditions or the agricultural space occupied hy Magar territory 0:.()uusiol1111 F'apers s. and pooja. Sometimes such groups go door to door dancing and singing. they practice subsistence agriculture and grow only a few vegetables. someone from a member household dies. Since all social functions arc generally determined and monitored hy the Rheja.o serv~s . jokes. It up. Community Solidarity Bheja als. After thc restoration of the multiparty system. hut most ·of the time they gather in a common place.nlty ~olI~anty and social consensus.. the money thus ~ollected went !nto drinking parties or. procession and death rituals. both male and female. like rodi. younger children arc treated with wel. Even the elderly members. Young boys and girls gather in groups for dancing and singing contests. the . relatives. goes into distilling jasd and raksi. for instance. This adversely effects their nutritional intake which is ohvi. Most 01 the conjugal disputes such LL'i elopement. The family members and their relatives arc expected to be at home or the place of pooja to celebrate. The real significance of the institution becomes evident on critical social occasions. police. that day. it may also be hindering the growth of modem institutions. Entertainment On a p()(~ja day. and jaari (compensation money paid by the abductor of a woman to her previous husband) are solved hy the Bheja. It L'i a practice which is still quite popular (Baral OSO: 50). When they fail. chewar. Plumpness in the community IS held to he synonymous with health. On such occasions women and children appear quite active. where they can he more sensitive about their communal identity.-~n integrative role in Magar society hy fostering commu. and acquaintances assemble for help and celebration. for social merry-making. court. When. It gives the community the feeling ot a single extended family. it has a broader impact on the overall activities and functioning of the Barha Mogarcu and has become one inseparable part . Drinking joad and raksi and merry-making.o.'ily low. Some cider persons arc therefore genuinely worried over the prospects of an increase in social strife and community disintegration. But the frequent pooja rituals partly make up for their nutritional deficiency since these ceremonies ensure a continuous supply of animal protein and other nutrients from the animals and fowls slaughtered. sueh as the VDC. it helps in the performance of specific tasks and ceremonial functions. It can certainly become a place for articulation and aggregation of their ethnic passions. the' member households visit the deceased family with a mana (about 1/2 kg) of hulled rice and one rupee. DIll1ku1. Some may perceive in it the scope for raising communal feelings and social conflict with other jats (caste groups). They also help each other at the time of happier occasions like marriage. join in the funeral. when families. Rheja also seems to be bypassing the official institutions.l-cooked pork to let them take wciphr.case is put before a puhlic assembly called by the Bheju. and sing and dance throughout the night. A considerable amount of the grain they produce. which is used on the thirteenth day of mourning (tcraunv. politicizauon has set in also in this traditional institution which is showing partisan trends. Above all. moreover. the case is taken up hy the kins of the panics in conflict. Dances vary according to the occasion and season.u. the disputant groups used. the gift. is not without its problems. and laughter arc common. the members and others arc invited to partake of the feast called Sudhvain. CRITIQUE I Bheia. Till recently. the case is referred to the Mukluva of the Hhrja. All the arrangements inside the house arc basically done by women who have a hectic schedule preparing foods and drinks and exchanging pahnr. the member households do not work in the fields. etc. On such OCCJSiOIl:-:. however. else. when some dispute arises among the members of the conuuunit y (or between itx members &KJ outsiders). Discus-nun follows on various aspects of the issue and fines and compensations are set by that gathering. moreover. In certain cases. ~thers extend t1~eir helping hand to the grieving family. At the time of marriage and other social ceremonies. forced marriage. If his decision is acceptable to neither party. it has drawn fire from the non-Magars for the waste of money it causes on various rituals.

lhe) hale an rcbery c nl I I r ' n lhe day f tbe testival Kuni ChMjL beld o n a full n n day of Ph I un In rh 0: cmng .hola region 111 195' Ac on. espc iallv.. Bhllllac han for their helpful commenls and silggL Jim Ka ata 111 hi. fields. M. em-day context. and therefore capable of.0.pe rcent speak Ma gar language their mol her longue The hill regio n 0 Rapu .. uch as goats. ctc. The steady inroads of market economj have further diluted it capacity. owada•.' 111111 1 /.lagars wc r. \\ :I similar archery con text in a Thak h \ illag c 10 the 1 ha khola cconling 10 !he villagers o f Syang. People are today more intere ted in ne and imported cultural norms and values. and fa . scattered a cross the land .: pa: I T he prac uc e can be ce n as o ne of Ihe surviv ing le gacl cs o f Ihe pasl . was used fo r lhe beh el Ihal III ObJCCIS. 4.111 • nd :\ I. cco rdrng 10 the 1:1<:51 da tu of the c rural Bure a u u f Staustics ICB ) If His 1 Maje slY' s Government IH:-IG1. l. it help to maintain social integrity of the community through various functions and keeps it cultural ide ntity alive. lingd )ffi'. term b1I i ll khrln n the I of h ' fieldwork d ne in Tbak .enti I not only for fulfilling uch rol but I 0 fI r the pr of 0 erall development. the lagars are trying to break down the harriers and boundaries of tradition and culture in their pursuit of growth and modernization.lgar . SlUd ) area n no: o f Ih '11\ new about this and o f traditi n amo ng them and inlo n ncd Ih~1 therr cuhun: and the culture 01 Lek:U1 M:Igars (the Magars of High ltitudc] tbe Kham • tagars. ' hasas. the I rher f modem ' cpaJ. u uainable devcl prnem in the pre. T he inforl na lio n (111 which Ihe arti cle is based wa s co liecleJ du ring lhe fieldwo rk condllcled belwe.lructiou of .~. Rhusan .: rnak the arrangement required for entertainment: real' th forum for ci tizen interaction : foster ' mutual help and respeer. All. ar e pcrman eml y or lempomrily inlmhll ed by spin ts o r so uls.48 OC s. Th e spiril inhabi ling obje cls of na lllru as well as them: in Ihc spiri l wo rld may be worshippe d o r treated with fe ar ancl/or res peci .c. Ihe) drink liquo r and bo os dan e .'39. o r obj ec ts Ihey inhabil. I . NGO. IS B UTlw '". ed James Fi her I Whe n the S:II11': query was pUI before ~IP D ~I Ii Rana : Iagar o f Palpa. The 0 erall con 'quence i fragmentation :llId weakening of Blteja.. E.(l1l111 Paper. gcrnent of community resources and mediation of community di. in the t7:0s. Lumbuu . Gnnesh Man G uru ng . h e noted that the pm li ce o f Bltt'jl/ indi cmes Iha l /l. l INGOs l:an playa key rok in a proper reassessment and restructllring of the IJheja in the new develo pmcntal contexL of the approaching 21st century./11. ized group of fi fteen to twelve hou ehold . The flow f inform tion i . particularly bccau e r increasing politiciza tion and partisanship.~·. REFERE Barth. Ihe wo rk was followed up duri ng the nexl field visil in Jul y· Au gu st 1994 for Co ml1mnily Dispule Medialion Study funtled hy Ihe Asia Ptnmda lillll. Bheja al fixes the labor wage. 1984 1 Ihe lerm 'ani mis m' 0 . " O n Fcbruar) 29. Ihe re has bee n al. lhe nly Tibet o-Burrnan group among 11. an: un idcred 10 be the pione r sculers of Ihls e area . d of Ihc Depallment and Dr. SeleclcO Essay s uf Fre dri k . :" Barth . 7 . When Prithvr I arayan • hah. 1. differ tremendously" (cf :\ Iolnar. .. however. and Bben zo ne are collectivelj know n .24 pen: mt.. specifically in the man. Th e spirits ha vc been co ncc ived o f as hcm gs wilh :m CX I. NOTE I. Bheja fulfill thi community n :d. T he info rmation prescnted here in Ihis papcr was colle cled through inlerviews and part icipant obscrvnlion methods.' . putes. co n olida rcd the many JlClI. he o unted heavll) upon Iu • l:Ig r .: and inanimate . 3.Jin: 10 hun.l aster ' s degree d isse rtucio n. lhe phra C refer.30. lI e. COOlest. while women an: the audience BUI when I mqurred about thi to the people of III. however..ilitarcs the pr ce: of ialization. ten cc dislin ct from . upplie animal protein to the members f the icty. and ets up mechanism for mediating cornrnunitj dispute . 10 an ar cher. slIrvi ving Ih dealh or de. II arch function '. pig .. He wrues l p -' J. need a good flov of inform ti n and c mmunication. It . enter into a new Bheja in case a e puL ion from an old one. oldlc . however. Kmh mand ll. . grateful 2.ld mil1lSlraliu n Accordmg 1 R. and Thakuris ( L Still r. Bheja has tended 10 fragment into : maller. Recently. sys h:mat ic rulers of Ill. planls. 1967 1 6. III faci. Ty lor has main laincd lhat anullisl1l migh t he mall\ ea rl iesl form o f religio n. Late r. s lIa lly. 11/ S" l'itl/ 1981 Lilt' . 10 Pan Thapa lind Dal Bahadur Ran a I lagnr fo r providing val uable information. a a beli ef in Ihe existence o f Ihe spiritual he ings with po we rs llver the Iivcs of men . : 2_ in " sra High Land ( ICUI:' ''. The author is K. Primarily. g:m.: Ih. Ihe persons. create the market for the local live tock. i not lost yet. I \\ b1lrjll II II/r o f the ahabet villagers in fall ow padd .g . 'Stiolls. bolh :mullat.B. animals . ( DUII/Illt/n'lI) '"ci"I(}. A household in such a condition can cas il. unde rl akcn fo r Ihe co mpletioll of Ihe fl. 7.B. arrange ommon property management (e.:: people in he :m n) rh ' TS " re Bahun . o f tbe • e pa le . Th i i beginning to effect it traditional function .e peo ple belo ng 10 the :'Iag:lr conuuunuy o f whi ch 3:!. i. The inst ituti n i therefore growing weaker. In lhe: autumn o f 195• .:n Janu ary and April in 1994 iu a VD of ellSlern I'alpa. Cl/ s " Dllclktll:Hhl'jl/ I/ J II Strat cgu: ClIIWI'II1 Convention 49 of the Magar life there. fore t resource management . Revival and renovation can still put IXlck life into thi ' time-honored institutio n. Fretlrik ES I'm /' . Oftcn all aClivili<:5 h:lve been be lieved 10 be ca used by Ihesc spirits. a 111nnks arc due 10 Dr.

M. Oi. (Fo ur De ca de s . Rappaport . . ' Forest Farm . Culture.. Environm III I Ul J Ghumrc.. Parlin (ed. 17" /1111 MtI!lan and Pre. Um CISII}' DeCl. 1%7 Sharum. cretariat. (ed. I ugust . Eh 1992 beth . :2:0 2 Kathmandu. I Palpa. s.~Mtlk.fh Bas . CB K dapu ve traregies f tagars' I n nthropolopcal Case ludy from K I Gand unpublished di nation subrrun d 10 nthropology ).! I1/ll High /Will Kham Magar o f I orth West Societies in Anth ropologiral Persp eli I'''."".. 199:. '1'<. 1 '16-1 19. 1 992 .) II. Tunahu ra Syallgjd ku MlIgtlrllt/rukll Kathmandu : Royal I 'cpa! Acad Ill} . ' 1!lghh orr HIli PI!0I'Ir. .) BU . 0.50 S. G . U III Ox fold University Pres .~ 1'l'/ilin IIJ l. Hoy A. lG. of Envinmmentul Reknions tllI/OIl1-: a Nr w Hum ro Suma]: Ek Ad/lllyatl. Kn hna 1992 K waakit o .and /lUI. PVI. Janak Lal 204' (liS ) Sh eph erd .1 Kathmandu II. 1//I11a')' 0 1 (/IIJkr iu Singh.B. Lud wig F Clutr Dushak. Himal (HlIn:l1 . Deve lopm ent . ) Til . LId. vari i u ) Himal ( epali edition ). Kathmandu : aj ha Prukashun Lift' tllI//l1/1-: the MIt!:ltrs.111 n The Peop! "1 N {l<JI. Kathmandu : Snhayogi Pre. I~r 'epal (2nd ediuon ) Bhundar .h) gl I'r:i · han Junajau Lahar . Kathm andu .1 . D. Dhukal.) Bhu han .ayan Iagazi ne. Moln al.uhrnandu . 111'1. Dor Bahadur 1971 ~ 1'. tl. Ratn 1995 Dhakal 199-1 ure P0l'ulmillll fonogrnph or . II. J Jr O ForUI or Farm ' 17. 'ew Delhi: Sterl ing Pub . 204 9 (BS) Stiller. India. Go rakhpur: J an a Prak han . 1 199 (ed. B 19 <) BI .) hristoph Von Furer Hairnendorf. A ugust 1911<1 "Eco nomic S trategies and E onomic Constr:unts: :lSI: of the c epal " .g i ll Villl/ge I 'epal . Ke hnr Jung 20 () (lJ. Deihl : 197' Surrounding the Ganges Plain: Toky o Toky Miller. 19 90 asper J 17..Bheju us tI Strategic Cultural Convenuon 51 Barnl. epa l. Lond n: Routledge. Kanak 1 (cd . Gar)' Ritual Regulation Guinea People.'.. . ah ityu Sociologv • ew Deihl : namol Publi all n Po tak 1967 Uday. Kathman d u: .

a~ JOn (J~ different ~oc llll .cannot he assessed \ ithnut consideration of thy degree to which parucular landusc practices and other facet · of life "tyle are ecologically. cited in M ran I 2). It e lain the ubsi stential mod of land-u and ' ial 1100 natural re urce utilization in the come: t of the changing environment uh th pnmary f ill' on how the R j baruhi adopting v~i u: ubsistcn e dcvi e in order to maintain their . 1969: Dahal 1983 ). sensilive lUlll cnv ironmentally sustainable. tence) Md the non-cure clements consist of various kinds of their annual ritual cycle '. Bennet 19 Y: H. The tewardian t 'I of rultural 'OIOg tends to utilize a anal)' i to focu culturally defined human p pulati n ~ th unit on the cultural rather than hi logical adaptati ns (Moran 19 _ . U fos and other valucs related to Hindui m.c econ Ol~'.lc s t ruc tu ~e . :md kheripari (economic activitics and suhsi. termed 'perceived environment' (Han!' 'I 1977) nnd is belie ed 10 act as an external mediating factor bctwe . and their own lypes of art o cultures5. population pattern s. urvival in their imrncdir te "01 . ociul and ultural life. t g~ve a . economi organizr tion. an . through \ hich people rnak effective usc of the energy potential of natural resource available 11\ the area through their cult urall stru . Bhauarai FRAJ\I . 111e proccsses of adaptatloll should Ix: analyzed b understanding the local environmental knowledge • The analyti al angle in this paper will be cu ltural-eco logical. religion. whi h primanly f u n th ulturaltrategie adopted by these societies 11\ ~ to urvive in th given environm ental condition . md T . daptation i. The con epr of cultural eco logy first p pos d by lui ian reward in 1955 and the method of cultural ecoloa h been applied to the tud f different ?u man. Altho ugh reward regarded e 01 g) ' an importa nt causal fact r behind ial in tituiion . BUI in this paper. my ccnlral argulllcnt In this paper will be thm adaptation to the envi n~nlllCI\ I ..!. refe to '.P Bhau arai: Raj bunshi s II!Rajgudl: 53 available for land utilization ard other natural resource management practices maintained by the people. Population di. ocial aspects.n . and contemporary rural ' ietie ( ~vens 199" ).·! 10 t~eir . umpti n that human : neue adapt 10 th ir natural em ironment thr ugh ulturally tructurcd a ·ti itics. Howevcr. do.ttention to tho e feature whose empirical nal I: . 'IIand 1991). s cial and ph 'ical enviro nment according to their \1C\\ 01 the snuauon ~ tJhe > kn iwlcdgc of 'realities' the. A T ALYTI AL Hari P. It i clear that the concept 'cultural ecology' is primarily concerned with the search for cultural regularities and explanation of ulture in environmental form h. J npu n of the human/cultural an indigenous pc pic f eastern Tarai.n~e. settlement I aucm s. soc i -p ilitical organizations.port 1979: rlove : 19 a : Hawley 19 ) aOO adap~ti n is one central con cpt in . and values havc any adaptive igniJicance4 . how them clo el ' involved in the utilizati n of envir nment 11\ culturally prescribed. hunter/gath irer (Steward 19 -5 .hi.wh~) re. societie : f1 r example. and utll r/. population paltcrn. uch tudi ( And ' n 1972: Bha. a procc .uhure an b explai ned in term of C ologi al adaptati n Gurunz 199_). tI. have to face (van Be k Il93). understanding the relation 'hlp between technology and the enviro nment. h) the Rnjbanshi f r their . kinship tics and exchange system. TIll h< y of knowledge i u u:1l1.6: Va./I. and . invo lving individual people .5).he pr e. of the Rajhan .hort 'Ur. I shall try to explain how the environment itsel f i: affected by certain cultural nctivitie of the people paying attention to the pos sibility of environmental change and degradation occurring as a consequcn e of human acti itics and s h~ lI.W RK '7i'r hi essay Inc .! I:al environment 1100 I: based on the . he \ a ' lear that not all feature of .\ ay . I 9: R pp.c olog .U1J ecological niche ' are w ncrele examples 01 adaptive stnltcwes to the environmental condition adopted by the people of diff erent environments in differen t periods of time in order to survive ( Ba~h 1964. The con cpt adaptation . 196 7.ystcm which are mos t lo: el related to subsistence activitie nd e onornic arrangement " and sugge ts that only these core elements have adaptive igni icance ( reward 19. in which a particular ociety i icwed from th pe pectivc of its intera tion with it phy. ubsistence te hnology). In it " . If we concepwalize lhe Rajh anshi social ystem from the cultural-ecological pcrspecli c. pa torali ts (Ed gerto n 197 I. the core clements con ist of haU kodaf (. . Pe ple-environmcnt interaction is a frequent ubjc t matter 01 e 01 ei al studies in today' anthropology (Barth 19. Thu : .ociopoliii al . II puts its tress on the VaDOU ultural tratcgi ad I .strihution.tured activ iti . He was of the opinion that ultura] e ology pay primary '. He call the ' C feature the 'cultural rc' that include e ploitative tech nologj . ical well ocial environment.hangc anl cultural reaction. try to a ess whether thc non-c( re clement like language.1I\ : I S ). preindu trial fanners Ge rtz I 63: j letting 19 ).

WIth all the mtcrvcnmg coumry (Hodgson 1~7X. in carly Tur. who arc widely distributed in the plains. cited in Hisl:l 1(172) II IS only III the I6theentllr) thai the. subsistence technology.entered India in the 10th century H. However. the dense Tarat forestland was continually cleared and settled by tribal people more permanently. That is. According to Hamilton (I ~ 19!: the majority of the inhuhitants of eastern Tarai were piam uibals.u hrstury WCI'e of Aryan or pre-Aryan indigenous stuck The ancient and medieval hIstory 01 thL' ICgllll l. Satars. Mcchcs.ltS environment : (2) assessment of the behavior patterns aSSOCIated With a given subsistence technology: and (3) ascertaining. AL the end of the middle age. their territories. one has to rely on the oral tradition. and the behavior required to apply technology for resource util ization. shifting their locution every three or four years when the land lost its Icrtiliry. xrncc the historical sources on Tarui people arc few. The method of cultural ecology consists of three procedures : (I) analysis of the interrelationship between a subsistence system and . the Rajhhanshis arc found mainly In the area between the Koshi and Mcchi rivers in Nepal and further cast and south across the Indian border (Bista 1972). I harus were spread throughtout the whole region and the RaJhanshls. . . they were absorbed hy the British in India and Jhapa and Morang. ETHNo-ECOLOGICAL VIEW OF COMMUNm' Hl"TORY A study of the course of adaptation and its fluctuations and changes has to focus on both the internal organization of the group and the specific characteristics of the environment where the people live.C. inhabitums of the areas of the actual Slate of . But unlike the Tharus and Danuwars. The pattern of change followed closely that which look place In other parts of the Gangetic plain.hl. This has to he done in a historical framework because the essence ol adaptation is related to the changing relationships of people . a group of thrs big cthnohngUlstlc tumily. the forest reclunucd the land. from the beginning of the seventeenth century. climatic data over several centuries. The Barue people r for us. Huru means Hodo and not Bhur). culture wld environme~t ar~ interdependent and have a dynamic relationship Jl1 which both culture and environment continue to adapt and readapt as each changes Jl1 response to the other's influence. and Dunuwars than to any other people living in the areas. Of course. of the region look [be nCLlIlC Df the R:"hall. The cultural-ecological method adopted for this study postulates a relationship between environmental resources. and established sculcmcnrx thaI grew UILo kIngdoms When the kingdoms withered aW:1Y hccuusc of natural culumiucx or war. the Koch. rn:n~ tllll'. It demands examination of the interaction oj socicncs and social institutions with one another and with the natural environment. from the cast and settled on the hanks of the Brahmaputra and gradually spread over Assam and the whole North and East Bengal and East Nepal (Sanyal 1965: Gautam 1(94). In the twentieth century. The Rajbhanshis . is a cyclical OIK in which men and forest have dOllllnaLed III !lilt". and Gangais inhabited the far eastern Tarai.e new Maxtcr-. Berlic (1985) writes: We do not know very much about Iheir ancient Lillie. Interplay between environment and productive technology from the environmental side and the rule of non-core clements in the adaptive processes of the Rajbanshis.. the intervention of technology controlled malaria and turned the Tarai into a new frontier for human occupancy".'UlU the social and physical environment (van Beck 1(93). Although '.54 Dam/mill I Papers here the theoretical focus of cultural ecology will he the. 10 time. In their physiognomy and racial traits they could he classified anthropologically as Mongoloid (Sanyal J965: Bertie IYX6) and arc more closely related to Tharus. were annexed to the kingdom of Nepal by king Prirhvi Narayan in 1774 (Bista 1972).IC land remained [allow lor a long time. They have often been referred to as Koch or Coche (regarded as their historical and original name) who were a very powerful nation during the 17th and l Sth centuries. occupied (India). thc political history 01 Tarai and the official records of hoth the British East India Company and tl1e Nepalese government.lanLpur (India) could he the Hodos. In this context. people [rom IlHlre seL1kd part of the Gangcu« plan: pushed huck the forest. cleared ihe land. the stash-and-hum cultivation was replaced by intensive farming and nomadism was . however. That is. They had conquered a part of Lhc ancient Thai-Ahem kingdom (which once included the western hull of the Assam on One side and the eastern half of the Morang on other. This resulted in a major shi ft of the population Irorn the Hills to Tarai with far reaching consequences in population distribution and land-use change". It was not reclaimed by (he forest because of continual grazing by the herds ol cows and buffaloes driven north from India durin" the b (by season by Ahirs and other caste Hindus (Gaige 1975)./l. In Nepal the Rajbanshis stand for the relatively large and dominant groups of people living in the eastern part of the country _ namely Jhapa and Morang districts. During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries most of the Tarai tnbal people including the Rajbanshis practiced slash-and-burn cultivation. In this context GaIge (I (n5l writes: IL appears that nearly all the ~cllkr. About that time. the extent to which the behavior patterns entailed in a given subsistence system affect other aspects of the culture.one of the groups of the great Bodo/Born or Bara family .

If we conceptualize the distrihution of cultural sub-traditions within a population ~LS different streams. TIle increasing rate of resource deterioration has threatened not only the environmental balance and conservation of natural species. regularly occupying outbuildings. SOCIAL ECOLOGY The village is heterogenous in term of its ethnic composition. Rajbanshi. The Rajhanshis arc mostly agricultural people. the responsihility and authority arc both transferred naturally 10 the eldest son. All the individuals share in the family occupation and cat from the same hearth In joint families. is the head of household chores and or all the females. the focus of this study. Thakur. in most of the cases their villages arc found in an open space in the middle of their farms. Malaha. However. the villagers know the boundary or their village which often consLsts of an imaginary line along some big tree or big earthen embankment on the cultivated land known as dhur. for instance. they . relit!ious. all working on the same undi vidcd land. ahscncc of the concept of menstruation as a polluti vc process. and economic unit of the Rajhanshis or Rajgadh is the patrilineal nuclear family. Thakur (Barber). More than half of the study population (52%) slated that they could not read and write (i. away from the main house. Natural resources. exclusively Rajbanshi. have been decreasing and deteriorating in the area resulting into unintended and unanticipated environmental consequences. which may split into two or more residential units. and occupational castes such as Kami. Such households arc termed here as JOLnt families. He hears the final responsihillty and is the sole authority for the family's well-being and everyone is supposed to work ~U1d act according to his direction. Kalwar. It comprises a narrow strip of alluvial plain with a very low altitude of about 100 feet from the sea level. In joint families. competition for limited resources (land and forest). the system of taking bride price in marriage. some typical sociocultural features or traditions which both Raj hanshis and others recognize ~L. were illiterate) Only one percent of the population has the education of SL. a Rajbanshi village consixts of a comparatively bigger house of Deoniva (landlord) and a group of smaller houses of h is sharecroppers and other landless people who work as wage laborers for him. Ncwar). however. Sutar. and Gancsh arc indiscnous inhabitants whereas most of the Brahman/Chhetri. the Rajbanshis thus participate in many such streams which are also shared hy the members or other groups. 87 45" K70 00" East). RaJ. hut the eldest woman of the household becomes the titular head of the household upon her husband's death. regardless of whether the latter is living. TIle household size of the village ranged from two to fourteen with an average of 5. In some cases. Rajgadh receives approximately 234 mrn of rainfall annually (CBS 1991). the head of the family is the eldest active male or the household. if there arc no younger sons or hrothers to take over. Thus.. and their unmarried children.67 persons per household. and Muslim arc of Indian oriuin who were invited to settle in the area during the Ranu Regime to ~naxllnizL' agricultural production and to increase land revenue in the Tarui. III li ving STUDY AREA AND POPllLAnON The Rajhanshis. The major caste/ethnic groups of the area arc Brahman/Chhetri. particularly in the joint family. In every village. particularly forests and grazing lands. however. ahandornucnt o( the sacred thread. 'mere are. inhabit Rajgadh village of the 0 Rajgardh VDC of Jhapa district (2f1° 20" . and their typical dress and settlement patterns (Bhattarai 19')41. The other remaining groups like Saha. The practice of patrilocality in the Rajhanshi community can he seen from the fact that alter the death of the household head. and occupational castes arc hill migrants who arrived In different phases of time during the last fi fly years. It has a suh-lropical climate with a good deal of humidity in its atmosphere which LS hot in summer and moderately cold in winter.57 replaced by permanent settlement in response to the changing context of ecology and demographic structure of the Tarai. Satar. hut also the basic needs of subsistence of the vast majority of the population. and unmarried children. and different government policies to usc and allocate these resources have affected every aspect of these people. Damai. hi ll Matwalis (Magar.26" 30" North. there IS a relatively rich and big landowner who is known as Dconiva. Therefore. J 64 females in a total of 59 households).c. the rapid growth of population. There is thus no well defined village boundarv under such condition and the hound aries arc not marked out with fencing or piJlars. This unit consists of a man. usually occupy mg a single dwelling. Rajbanshi. The sex and dependency ratios were 104 and 0. social. . Thus. increasing rate of internal and external migration. the basic economic unit is not a residential un it.e. Occasionally. Saha. He acts as the chief of the village. Kalwar. the worship of their village deities. a household may consist of two or more married males.dso build a village 1'01' a group of persons with their cultivated land elsewhere because they prefer to live with their community. equivalent and more. including the Rajhanshis the area. The wife or the eldest male. hill ~Matwalis. The basic residential. Malaha (Fishermen). Muslim. The total study population comprised 335 individuals (171 males. their wives. In most cases. Guncsh. one can cite the consumption of meat in the course of performance of death rituals performance.87 respectively. his wi fc. Among these groups.

()] tile total 51) Rajbanshi households bclonu 10 the nuclear families. Due to population growth. for example. which IS reflected in their productive technology and the means hy which they have been e"plnlting the resources around them appear simple. and to manage this change. Thus. the environmental attributes (high soil terril ity. as there arc no other entertainments in a concrete sense. if one changes. festivals. and plants) is one of the sustainable or beneficial relationships that have evolved in the course of the interaction of human population with the natural environment over time (Hams: 1974). and Rangsiruwa arc more or less related to the environmental potentiality of the area. and the organization of resource for productive activities.') The Rajbanshis of this village prefer to live in nuclear families than in extended or Joint families due to inadequate land-holding and poor fcrt ility of the soil.) to the environmental phenomena: either showing that items of the socio-cultural system funct ion as a part of the whole system that also includes the local ecological phenomena or else showing that the environmental phenomena are responsible in some manner for the origin or development of the socio-cultural system under investigation (Vayda 1969L 111c fe. they have been using their traditional simple technology in order 10 survive in that environment because it has been comparatively productive until nnw. Ahout XI'/. migration. They fulfill their subsistence as the natural environment permits them with their simple technological knowledge of irrigation. festivals such . however. As they arc agriculturists of the plain region.. In most cases. this festival reflects the role or forests in rain which is an inherent part of their life. they have adopted a culture of cultivation of cash crops uu.RsiruHa and Kadisiruwa arc related to the land.g . these people ha~e also changed lh~ir technology or subsistence. ploughing. Each technique is a comhination of material artifacts (tools and machines) and the knowledge required [n make and usc them. A separation from the mam household usuullv occurs 'LS brothers divide their rather's properly and the final di vision of the property usually occurs after all the sons of a man have got married and have established separate households. The material culture of the Rajbanshis. Jt seems that their family types arc more orlcxs influenced by the size of land-holding and other resources available for subsistence. immigration. Thus. the soil lcrtilitv or the area has chanced. ultimately the other one also is effected. The rules of inheritence arc on the 'principle of ownership hy birth' and the exercise of inheritance rights by the Rajhanshi always proceeds through stages. these rituals and festivals like Mughesuxunmti8 and performance of various function as the part of the ecosystem that help to maintain the 1ocal ecosystem hy consuming the excess or surplus production in the appropriate season.LS Aashari Ghasari. On the other hand. when there were enough resources for consumption or distribution for continuing the production in the succeeding years. For example. the socio-cultural features of the Rajbanshis in some respect arc the product or the local environmental phenomena. Thus. Aashar! Ghascni is celebrated In the month ot Ashadh (Julv). Since all the lands or the area arc rainfcd. All the R'lJoan:his of a village collectively worship land for its sustainable fertility: their mud-play signifIes the value of soil and land in their survival. Rajbanshis worship the forest as god lndra (kll1g of the heaven and ~goel . Maghcsagaranu IS celebrated j n the middle of January (a cold season in the area) and is believed to he the best period for meat consumption in that hot climatic area. SOCIOClJLTlJRAL PRACTICES AND ADAPTATION There arc two main ways of relat Ing socio-cultural systems (rituals. and forest depiction.'.1' rain) to get good rain all over the year on this occasion. K£I1I1·il'lIIvu. These festivals arc celebrated on the second and third davs 'of Baisakh (the third week of April) respectively. the process gets delayed until after their father's death. the tradition of conspicuous consumption and expenses in their rite d' pa\'sa. The Lilas also act as recreational institutions 1'\11' the Rajhanshis.sti vals and rituals which the Rajbanshis have been celebrating arc associated with one or the other of the Hindu pantheon. at the same time. But. sacred cow. the pattern or works. Since technology and environment form a single system together. abundance or natural vegetation) arc responsible in the orrgrn of the customs of conspicuous consumption in marriages and death rituals among these Rajbanshis of Nepal Tarai. the information of the knowledge employed. The numbers and kinds or tools a society uses arc related to the cultural practices and life-styles of i ls members. they also act as a part of the local ecosystems. This includes the usc of tools.Re evolved from their dominant position in the arenas of resource usc and allocation in the past. the technology of a human group is the tptal system or means of production hy which the group interacts with its environment. TIle Hindu concept of sacredness (e. TECHNOLOGY livery human society employs techniques in order to appropriate resources from the environment. Both ROI1.. cic. and transportation.» . These customs were functional in the past. Likewise. trees. the on ly permanent source of livelihood for the Rajbanshis. Both of these ways arc applicable in the study or [he sociocultural system of the Rajbanshis.

and wage labor. the main source of livelihood among the Rajbanshis is agriculture supplemented locally by animal husbandry. These people depend heavily on the monsoon for irrigation because there are no irrigation facilities. 6. In the absence of private property rights on the raikar land.plough Kodal . Hal. may be. muddy fields. changes in the traditional mode of subsistence are not significant as in other areas and as among other people such as the hill folk.axe for splitting wood Kachiva . specially used for making wooden agricultural implements like plough. such as ploughing wood etc.sickle for jute plant Duo . thus collected. The digging spade . They have been using spinning and weaving implements to make jute strings from jute fiber for use in household articles. 5. As the use of the plough is the main characteristic of subsistence agriculture. . These tools have been used by these people for generations. the cultivator could enjoy only the rights to cultivate the land and enjoy its produce subject to the payment of the rent to the state. Usually the Rajbanshis use the following implements for their agricultural activities: I. merchandise from the market. The shortage of firewood due to deforestation and other constraints posed by the forest guards have induced them to use cattle-dung as a cooking material which is a convenient form of energy for the rural women due to its long lasting heat giving capacity. and rassi (rope to keep the cattle tied in cowsheds). the other tools like club.sickle for harvesting Husuwa . which make a prestigious and tasty curry. The small fish. Bhattarai: Rajbanshis ojRajgadh 61 including the technology of groundwater irrigation. are called sidol (dry fish).spud The use of these agricultural implements shows that they depend heavily on human and animal labor rather than machine for cultivation. Agriculture. Their hal is similar to those used in other regions of Nepal .kodal . ECONOMY AND SUBSISTENCE As in most Nepali villages.60 Occasional Papers H. It is usually made of wood. It is generally used to fetch corn and hay from the fields. and improved varieties of crops in spite of the cultivation of cereal crops of local varieties. and over small embankments of about two feet height. 8. partly for their own consumption and partly for sale.P. 4. it is an important tool for tilling agricultural land. 9. sutli (jute thread for tying the parts of the hut). state land had been registered in favor of the cultivators before the first quarter of the 20th f . 7. when the practice of allotting land to the household for cultivation was perhaps established. 2. andjutc and tobacco plantations). They simply raise aali (embankment) around the small plots of land called khutti with the help of kodal to preserve water and prevent soil erosion. small scale trade. They also make fishing nets and traps from bamboo and dry jute plants which they use for fishing in their paddy fields during the rainy season after the paddy is planted when they have time away from the farm. even earlier. iron sheets.ladder. and sickles are also used frequently. and has an axle. Sun-dried and preserved in a bamboo pot. The pattern of landownership extant today in Rajgadh dates from the dawn of the Rana rule. No changes are yet evident in the size and shape of these tools. as a result. and even people.chopper for cutting wood Bossila . firewood from the forest. use of animal dung as firewood has also a certain negative impact upon farm production since alternative sources for fertilizing the field are lacking. Almost all of the Rajbanshis rarely use chemical fertilizers but use frequently both manure and animal dung.a wooden structure with a wooden moldboard and iron share and hook. Implements which are used for extraction of forest materials such as firewood.. However. small axes and chisels. or are used as housing materials. drawn by bullocks and sometimes 'by male buffaloes.harrow Passini . depending on the monsoon. Such articles are dhokra (a jute cloth used as bedsheet). It can go over the unmetalled roads. except the plough. spud (specially used for weeding kitchen garden. Some Rajbanshi households have been using an improved form of plough made from iron plates provided by the local cooperatives and the Agricultural Development Project. However.spade/hoe Kurali .smaller axe for cutting and splitting wood/bamboo Dhungni . is labor-intensive for those crops harvested in winter such as tobacco and wheat. bamboo pole. which is exclusively based on human and livestock power but they sometimes also use the rice and flour mills located in the village.club to break the clods after ploughing Mow . Agriculture is the main subsistence of the Rajbanshis. are axes for splitting wood. State ownership was the traditional form of land tenure. 10. 3.is used mostly in making terraces during the rainy season to hold back water for transplanting paddy and is another prime agricultural implement. Although. The plough is connected to the yoke with the help of jotar (jute string). On the other hand. Their only means of transportation is the Bullock Cart. and the chopper used for cutting bamboo and fencemaking and other purposes. called raikar. pulled by oxen or buffaloes.

XW. Mortgaging of land W..Og ha. vegetables like chilies. Some of the large land-holding Rajbanshis here still follow such mode of cropping because they own enough land. Agricultural activities are characterized by simple traditional techniques wher~ manual l~bor and animal power are used for ploughing.1.5 ha of culuvablc land. "11K Bralnnan/Chhetri group has the largest amount of landholding per household compared to other ethnic groups in the study area. It has a total of 23. Weekly market facilities can fetch cash from these products. As the size of land-holding ranges from 0. the degree to which each household produces its own food varies considerably. as population increased. majority of the Rajbanshis are now engaged in agriculture either as marginal landholders or as tenants and sharecroppers of the big landholders (Rajbanshis or Brahmans/ Chhetries). harvesting..15 ha cultivated land in 11)64-65 owned only 41. Out of the total cultivated land 235.-:. All others (95% of the total households) have to sell land (54.15 ha per person and O. and threshing. wheat.:L'i also reported in significant numbers (five cases. As in other rural areas of Nepal. Various cash crops such as tobacco.. tomatoes.HH ha per household respectively.249(.15 ha. Rajbanshis have started to grow maize. or t\. the cultivator who acquires tenancy rights cannot be evicted by the landlord except through a judicial decree. diversification and intensification of crops and exploitation of local resources (wagc/dini labor.4(1r' of the 51) households) in the study area which is locally known as Ria) Mamuni. Rajhanshis who had owned abut 74(K. subsistence farming is being monetized. when land W. millet. people used to grow only one crop of paddy which was transplanted (in most cases. In addition to paddy.9 I ha of bluth land ( 17.( of the total cultivable land). and absorption of the excreta of cattle and buffaloes on the field soil on the other.) from the local moneylender (usually hill Brahman) to meet their social requirements. on the one hand. Changes in demographic structure through natural growth. Bh. maize and millet were also introduced around the 50s. Also. of the total 212. firewood selling) to eam cash are the main strategies adopted by the Rajbanshis to manage population srowth. D!UllI!UIl" (paddy land) and bhitti (dry land) are the main land types of the study' village as classified on the basis of irrigation facilities. II H ha is owned by the Brahmans/Chhetris. agricultural practices tend to L i . As land and family size is not distributed equally among the households in the study area. sOW111g.5. migration.Jf{Wlli. Gradually. Although the average land-holding l ! I • i .7K ha) in 11)1)2-9. But in practice. out of which 11)4. the heavy expenses on life cycle ceremonies and social occasions" of the Rajbanshis forced them to sell their lands to the hill immigrants because very few of them (about jt/l of" the total 59 households) could fulfill their social and cultural obligations (including ceremonial expenses) with their farm surplus and savings. and potatoes have been cultivated for their own consumption and partly for sale which are recent developments in the local economy.J I (X. jute. For the remaining months of year. seed broadcasting was the rule in over two-thirds of the paddy land) in July/August to be harvested in November. Adhvan (sharecropping) and thcklcu (fixed rent) are two ways of land renting in this village. more than SOt-X. land scarcity. In the course of time. there is 40. (1)96.1)1 ha is dhanhar land (X2. As efforts were made to intensify the farming practices to adjust to the changing social and natural environment. and immigration.15 ck. of the total land under cultivation). This fallow period provided sufficient time for regeneration of the natural soil nutrient.L'i in abundance and population size was relatively small. RUjhlll/shis oj Rajgl/dh 63 century ended. and types of crops cultivated.62 (h. and summer paddy (where irrigation is possible in winter).47 Lk) and take loan (32. animal husbandry.'US/IIIIUI Papers HP. . The land-man ratio and land-household ratio in the study village are 0.24o/r) or mortgage (8. Such a situation induced Boscrup (1965) to forward the hypothesis that "As population grows and land-holding becomes insufficient. It had a positive effect upon land productivity. In addition. soil types. In the past. and its resultant pressure on the agricultural sector have altered the cropping patterns of the study area. the fanning practice of the studv area is characterized by mixed funning. land was kept fallow when lame flocks or cattle and buffaloes grazed there. The fallow period of land between two crops has shortened and the frequency of crop rotation in the same land in a year has increased. which includes agriculture. Thus. these provisions arc not effectively implemented. i. weeding.002 ha to 30. Likewise. a large disparity remained in land-holding size even after the Land Reform Program of 11)64 Land Ad prohibited landowners from appropriating in excess of half of the annual yield of the land. and horticulture. and social and cultural needs. With the arrival of the hill people.. I of the sampled house hoius is I. Their caste status and literacy skills enabled them to take advantage of the administrative regulations on land acquisition.6 ha per household.c . It generally depends on the quality and quantity of the land processed hy the household and the number of members in the family. more than SOul of the households produce grain to meet only three months' requirements. there was fragmentation ofland and single cropping could not meet the increased demand for food and other requirements. winter crops were introduced along with improvement in the irrigation system.

women arc not usually allowed to go lor ha. which is concerned WIth remuneration for the lahor concerned in kind. This means that environmental condition may he as important as population pressure anl land scarcity in determining the cropping intensity of a particular geographical area. nor is there auv rule that the head of the family must go for it. Their i. there is greater demand for labor. Since all or these arc labor-intensive crops. oilsccdx.ack agricultural seasons in other sectors. Such practice plays a sig:nificant rn!c in strcngthc ning the Rajhanshi economy.. change from natural grazing to producing fodder. Such free time (off . and Pandey 1992) that labor intensification al. Hauli is used muinlv during transplantation (If tobacco and preparation of tan (process of making bundles or tobacco leaf Wh~ll the leaf is separated from stem). size of holding. which is primarily based on the Law of Leas! Effort.one can raise production only minimally. maize. 111c relatively hotter-off households occasionally grant loan to labor households during critical periods and supply them food grains when food shortage occurs on the understanding that the latter would work ax labor hands during the peak farming seasons. As fanning gcis more intensified and diversified. Defaulting hrings social ostracism. even in extracting jute fiher> Generally. . Paddy.I! prestige. cereal graws suusty the subsistence needs of the Rajbanshis."h~ In dini.' economically important (the hosts can thus save quite a large expe. it is profitable to exchange agri-production into cash. a shortening of fallow periods leading up to multicropping. However.c . millet.uKI other varieties of curry and mun cpopricc r or chum rhiucn rice) to the person at work.'-:lIIfh become intensified". They not onlv fulfill their dailv labor demands. There is often a pre-arranged contract between the employer and the labor hand. It can also preserve social integration. distance of the landholdings from the homesteads. these attendants arc poor Rajbanshis. and the span of peak season for farm operation.. types of crops grown.ths. ThIS system is not on 1\.ditun:l. whereas the cash crops provide an extra income to fulfill other household requirements. their level of production can he raised hy increasing labor inputs. weeding. However. wheat. Since anyone can he called for work. threshing. harrowing: breaking clods. irrigation facilities. today. Work on the farm is done by the members of the family.f()r continued expansion and labor input in the area is already so high (Mixhra. However. Some well-to-do households maintain keep attendants. the use ol labor is affected by a variety or factors such as quality of soil. The Rajbanshis along with other ethnic groups of • Tnrai have developed IUI/di as an illllJgenous system of labor exchange for the peak agricultural season and dini. This provides income throughout the year to fulfill recurrent and contingent expenditure of the Rajbanshis irrespective of population pressure and land scarcity. a group '01' laborers is hired for harvesting. and increasing inputs of time into agriculture on the part of the community.farm period) i. TIle household \V'hICh hosts huuli has to provide food with meat . during the peak agricultL~ral season. seasonal migration. weeding maize: and transplanting tobacco. In mallY cases. for domestic service and fanu work. it helps to maintain emotional interdependence in t~le Rajbunshi society. Uprcty.)artly for consumption and partly for sale. However. all participate in economic production. and Icntif" arc the major crops grown. they may handle all the activities ploughing. used to exploit what Ycngoyn (1975) has rcfcrcd 10 as 'microeconomic niches' (cited from Poffcrbcrger 1976) such as small trade. cottage industry. a large part of the labor force must find employment elsewhere or it has to he employed during: the sl. and paddy seedlings. then. Basically this type of relationship exists between landlord and sharecroppers living on the free Janel of the former.lds send other persons to work for them and pay them in cash/ kind.' is little land . Consequently. Hauf is not [ike -cxchangc labor' . hut also save good amounts of C<-l. The well-off househ(. and winnowmg of paddy and wheat.In the sense that it is not ncccsxarily reciprocal.64 Occasional Papers HI' Bhnncuai: f{1IjhIlIlS!ris 0/ J<1I1.. Excluding the children helow five years.-uKI SOl'I. The labor of family members alone often cannot meet the demand. ability of fanning and availability of other types of labor. as the area is flat and fertile which makes transportation easy and market facilities available. who often prefer to live in the Rajbanshi households because their rood hahits resemble. the laborers receive IlXth of the total production of their work from the landowner. collection cull! selling of firewood and timber. Green vegetables arc _grmvn I. This law holds that cultivators do not normally intensify or adopt technological innovation for intensive agriculture except when forced by the pressure of population on resource. Hiring of labors on daily/monthly wages for ploughing. and harvesting is also in practice. i. irrespective of his wealth . Jute and tobacco arc extensively grown as cash crops. Usually. Generally." intensive demand for labor only at certain times of the year. and physically disabled members of the household.tli. 'I11e agricultural calendar bruins in March/April and ends in November co~'erin!! ahout nine 1ll00. The general patterns of intensification include increasing amounts of land being brought under cultivation. Transplantation of paddy is usually carried out by women labors called Ropahar. a shift from dry to irrigated agriculture. is also in pracucc. in order to supplement the household income. transplanting. millet. the old.

28 buffaloes. ghcc.Fallow ~ Paddv . the general cropping pattern is changing from extensive to an intensive one. buffaloes. Since Rajbanshis claim Chhetri's status in the caste hierarchy. Rajbanshis keep cows.L.(7 months ). Bhatturui: Rajbanshis o(Raj!illJh 67 Many Rajbanshis have started to exploit the microeconomic niches available in the area and other places up to Kathmandu. Farmers often invest their extra time also in small business and kitchen gardening to gain more cash. Dhanahar Land B. The subsistence farmers primarily need cereal food for their survival. Cattle and buffaloes are kept as a source of draft power. they do not domesticate pigs and chickens following the custom of high caste Hindus and consume goat meat. male buffaloes. and arc now reaching as far as the Indian states of Punjab. although the combination of crops is varied depending on the local soil condition and available irrigation facilities. Ducks and pigeons are also reared. The average . Acute need often leads the poor Rajbanshi peasants to sell their best expensive crops. However. and 130 goats. oxen. Hariyana. Different types of crops arc grown in the same field (mixed cropping ) to overcome the shortage of cultivable land. The general cropping pattern remains as follows: Land Type A. and meat) fetches. Rajbanshis also keep parts of their farmland fallow.395 kg for the 59 sample Rajbanshi households. and goats.Extensive The difference in consumption and economic status of the Rajbanshi households has also influenced cropping patterns in the study area. and 130 goats 4745 kg which altogether is 154. and residue of previous crops to maintain soil fertility. Three households out of fifty-nine cultivated tobacco and green vegetables which fetch more profit than other cereal crops (cereal grains can be easily bought by the profit money obtained from the sale of cash crop). their knowledge of mixed cropping not only helps to understand their realization of the given ecological constraints but also helps them in many other ways to survive despite land scarcity. As the domestic animals play an important role in the socio economic and religious life of the community.(3-4 months) Mustard Oil Seed Evaluation Extensive Semi-Extensive Intensive Extensive Semi . Although the combination of crops varies depending on the local soi I condition and irrigation facilities. As chemical fertilizers are costly and sometimes not available in time. Thus annually. Hence the traditional use of dung manure supplemented with compost made from dry weeds. The males are used for drafting carts and ploughing and females for milk.660 kg. Sometimes they usc chemical fertilizers (mostly nitrogenous). Paddy -. Some households provide animals to other households without transferring ownership to be kept in Adhiyan system (lambs are equally distributed between the owner and the caretaker). 28 buffaloes bring 30. one cattle produces about 2 kg of dung per clay whereas buffalo brings 3 kg and goat about 100 gram. draft service.990 kg of dung. milking. whereas the affluent farmers with surplus production prefer to grow better grain species for their consumption and get better price from their sale. and dairy products. Altogether. much as possible to respond to the growing population pressures. 321 animals were raised by the sample Rajbanshi households . which the average subsistence farmers cannot afford. Bhith Land Fallowing Pattern and Period I.66 Ociasional Papers HI'. The choice of crop to be cultivated is determined by their habits and cultural values. On the average. Paddy .Fallow 2. domestic animals contribute additional income. forest leafs. not pork and chicken. Mixed cropping helps to maintain the fertility of soil through utilization of different proportions of soil nutrients. they reflect the status of the owner in the society. In additon to manure. This explains the reason for selecting crops for the family farm. TIle Rajbanshis thus manage to grow two or more crops in the same land at the same time. curd. which is mixed with legume. Jute/Maze .Wheat . and Delhi. TIle major patterns of mixed cropping practiced by the Rajbanshis are: Paddy + Khesari + Pulses and Soybean (on the levees of land) Maize + Cucumber + Pumpkin + Beans Mustard + Musuri (Lens culinaris ) + Radish Potato + Green vegetables paddy fields.Paddy I. even this trend has been changing recently. grazing them on harvested Animal husbandry is an integral part of the rural agricultural system. These peasants consume crops that arc in lesser demand in the market. Hence.Maize/ Oil SeedlJlItelVegetahles 3. Some leguminous plants provide extra nitrogen to the soil and can be utilized by another crop.(8 months).90 cows. Tobacco . leaving domestic animals in the fallow fields. forest leafs. One can easily observe that farmers here have extended agricultural land as much . and crop residue predominates. there is also manure that helps in maintaining soil fertility. 73 oxen.(2-3 months). manure is of great importance in the local farming system. It was also observed that land usc for growing crops is more or less determined by socio-religious and cultural practices. 163 cattle produce 118. and farm. Apart from the additional income that the sale of these animals and their products (milk. and applying manure and compost obtained from grasses.

people have changed their cultural practices. and spices.U1d new consumption patterns. Consequently. however. IS directly related to the quality and quantity of wild vegetation. livestock. which call fill' income beyond what their land hrings. buill upon the usc of close relation with primary resources has its own conconutam system of capital accumulation and indebtedness. Income from farm alone is not enough to maintain the households because many households have inadequate land-holding. The entire environment of the village can be divided into three main ecological components: (I) physical or abiotic component which includes heal. population increase means food deficits and additional expenses. labor arrangement. He IS also responsible for it x caring and rearing. Off-farm activities thus provide alternative opportuniucx to generate cash which also helps to raise the social status of a household by providing means for spending in different social sectors. and climatic conditions. As a result. salt. and other cultural and social resources that a farm household manages In its production. with simple technology and equipment often relying primari Iy for their subsistence on what they themselves produced . marketing and dixtriburion" (cited in Dahal: 1983 L FAR\I ECOSYSTEM RELATIONS AND ECO-ClJLTlJRAL- The vuxt majority nf the people living in the study area depend on agriculture tor their livelihood. If the forest cover decreases. Rujbanshis also practice a syxtcm of renting animals locally called /)(/11(/. value and belief . Forest resources thus playa key role in sustaining village economy by directly or indirectly contributing to agricultural production. water sources. It can help one to see how the local ecosystem is maintained or disturbed by the prevailing socio-cultural practices of the people. (2) biotic component which includes all the Ii vi ng organisms such as plants including crops and wild vegetation and human population. A close relationship thus persists between the forests. smaller amounts of manure will he produced. the number of livestock and a~ricultural productivity depend upon the availability of forest resources. But the (ann ccosvstcm is rclauvclv selfcnntaincu and provides Illost of the needs of llle farm Iamilv lor food and sheller. rapid population growth and fragmentation of land-holdings throughout the region have brought increased competition for scarce resources disturbing the ecological balance. intensification of agriculture is another example of change in the local cultural practices by means of which the people have responded to the decline in crop yield. the landlords who hire out oxen to their sharecoppers get their rent during the period of paddy harvc-tina. cooking oi I. kerosene. Due to the fraJ. Since animal husbandry is an integra! part of the agriculture system of Rajbanshis. water. . uuricultural production. a consequence of declining land fertility due to lower nutrient llow through the forests. however. The lamilv Iarm rnannucmcnt system in the stud)' area can be deemed ~LS a complex arrangement of soi I.menlatllln of holdings and lack of gra/i ng lands. The uneven d istrihution of animals and differences in then types. the number of domesticated an imal» is decreasing. Crop yield will decline and shortfalls in production wi II mean grain deficit. services. In the past. and forest shows the cultural-ecological relationship in the study area. Generally. More recently. '111e household which hires the animal (oxcn/buffalocs l and annually pays 12-15 mounds of paddy to the owner of the animal uses It for ploughing or draft purposes. People have to buy clothes. natural vcgctauon. ~U1d agricultural productivity as much of the land in the study ~UGI is rainfcd. and (3) cultural component which includes knowledge. however. R1'IluII/IIII. small trade and husincsx. and seasonal migration.Turcsts play an important role in sustaining land productivity by providing dung manure supported with bedding materials from the forest which also provides grass and fodder. fewer animals can he raised. crops. tobacco.\· IJ/R<iJgeulh (. Again. the principle source of livelihood of the Rajh:lnshls.a system of small-scale producer. They thus engage themselves in off-farm or suhsidiary economic activities. Animal husbandry in (he studv area is thus dircct!v related to its agro-economy. Consequently. As subsistence agriculture is a dOIllIlHUll' part of its economy. . TIle existing relationship between crops. livestock raising. adopting new technologies for the improved varieties of crops. land. livestock..HI' Blmtuna. Hence. wage labor.... the interaction and balance developed by the local lurmcr between crop production. Although agriculture is the backbone of Rajbanshi economy. rainfall. soap. human population. Moreover. and forestry allowed sufficient levels of agricultural production. yields arc declining. such a small scale productive organization. animal husbandry provides not only manure hut also the basic foodstuff. firewood/timber collection and selling. iron implements. render compost production per household unequal.') amount 01 compost available per household LS 2(117 kg which can contribute to increase snil Icrti lii y without spending hard cash for chemical fertilizers. which Itself IS heavily dependent on forestry for its sustenance. the overall production system of the local Rajhanshis is clearly domestic or peasant in nature and their economy supports Firth's definition of peasant econOlllles " . Thus.

111e: ecosystem or ecological system of the study area then becomes a relatively stable sci of organic relationship between the livestock. labor. well as a medium for recycling energy and waste products. wild animals. landslides. crops. the state also encouraged villagers to reclaim the forest land in order to maximize state revenue (Regrni 1978). and honey for direct domestic consumption. which ultimately disturbs the people's subsistence patterns. Human population. mushrooms. . The Rajbunsh is of the study area can thus he understood as a population not only in terms of their social organization hut as an Integral part of the ccosyxtctu with a common set of distinctive lcaturc-. 011 an average. forest. and infonnation . The decrease in livestock rarsmg due to fodder and grazing scarcity has a negatlve impact on subsistence farmers ofthc area. Shrestha et al 1991). material and information in continuous circulation maintain a stable set of organic relationship between the Iivestee k. and the technologies used hy them to extract resources from the cnvi ron rue nt. This is an example of a symbiotic relationship among the human and cultivated plant species.uivcly higher than among the hill folk in the area. and other d. for households as well as farm implements and tools for the local people. They can also produce signi Iicant amounts 01 manure. then the ecological balance gets disturbed causing severe slue effects. capital. Livestock provide meat. invests capital. many Rajhanshis reported that whereas a few decades ago It took only OIlC hour to collect one bhar (a load that an ordinary man can carry I of firewood.'. . providers t)f manure which when composrcd with wild vegetation and agri-residuc is used to fertilize the fields. forest.UT in continuous CIrculation and where all these components can he seen III terms of their systeillwise reperCllSSlOns. again. They never cut and fell down the green trees unless there is a sharp need. and without sufficient fertilizer the production level inevitably declines. material. They worship green trees as deities and perform poojas before entering the forest to collect timber and firewood. one household requires nne bhar of firewood a day: their consuurprion IS rcl.using. certain kinds of herbs. Branches are used as firewood material. a scarcity reflected locally in the number of houses needed to collect loads or firewood. Human population and livestock iUT thus in a symbiotic relationship in terms of population interaction. milk. by which they maintain a common SCI of trophic (energy) relationship within the ecosystem which they occupy. If one clement of the ecosystem extracts more energy without recycling. furnuun. fish. and human population In which energy. In this way. This also means the Rajhanshis iUT to be idcruihcd distinctly from other population in the study area in terms of the position of the 'niche:' which they occupy in the total ecosystem. and grazing lands for livestock hut also help to protect them from natural calamities such as soil erosion.md time for cultivating cmd harvesting crops. there were no institutional and social/cultural mechanisms to control and maintain the natural resources such . fruits. energy. . now it takes about 4-'1 hours. 111e male cattle and buffaloes arc necessary tor ploughmg the field and females arc used lor production of milk and offspring. The local people use the forest products such as birds. Forests have always been an inseparable part of the subsistence activities of the people which not only provide fuclwood. and human population up to a certain energy level. This same resource (forest) is becoming scarce day hy day. But thi s tradition of resource control has disappeared gradually because of population pressure and the state policy toward the forest resources (Bajracharaya 1983 ).70 71 system about cropping patterns. and ham boo shoots. and time. Although. In this context. Alt the livestock including caulc and water buffaloes arc key links in the village ecosystem a. 111c high consumption is mainly due to the large ard deep ovens in local usc and the production of hulled nee which needs large amounts of firewood.1. herbs. and floods (Bajracharya: 1(83). it seems essential that some system he developed to re-establish and maintain the balance between man and his environment. which provides them food grain for meal and cash for various kinds of expenditure. Before 1951. The environment then becomes more hazardous to exploit. Thus. TI1e forest thus becomes a renewable source of production of goods and services and is an inherent part of the human environment. timber. people's consumpuon paucms.1S the forest land developed by these people similar to the Kipat system of the Rai and Limbus and Shingo Nawa of the Sherpas in the Hills and Mountain respectively (Fisher 1990.ury products for the human pnpulation and the human population maintains livestock by investing Iahor. It was also observed that a signi Iicant amount of timber was being smuggled hy many local people to get cash causing muxxivc deforestation III the: area which adversely affects the local ccologicul balance. and honey are signi Iicant sources of lood and income from the forest. choicc of crop cultivation aod animal r. Usually they fulfil their timber needs with mrl and dried trees. Forests III addition provide timber and poles for housing. crops. The question of fodder and grazing shortage in the forest IS crucial because in the absence of fodder and grazing land fertilizers cannot he produced. they have recognized the need of a social mechanism to control and maintain man's relation with the environment in the form of collective pooja. livestock sheds.

Rajbanshis have started to intensity and 2. even as the subsistence activities are changing. In addition. NOTES I. and values. For details on the application of the cultural ecological method to study different human societies. and Dahal (1983) In the festival of MUf{hesuf{w·t. uncertain rainfall due to irregular start of the monsoon. Bhattachan for his helpful comments and suggestions. Play or drama of the gods such as Ram and Krishna is frequently arranged in the Rajbanshi village in winter after the crops are harvested. adopting crops like wheat and maize. loss of ground cover due to disappearance of natural vczetarion also results in a process of aridization (Hoffpauir 1974) whereby the moisture contained in the soil gradually gets reduced through evaporation.March 1994. aridization leaves a longer term impact on the region's climatic pattern. CONCLUSION In an agricultural society like ours. The author is grateful to Dr. timber. The host households pay and provide goc. and Bhattarai (1984) for details about the non-core elements of the Raj banshi culture which basically includes the Rajbanshi language. the respective socioculture practices of the people are also undergoing some modifications to meet the changing needs of the time. art. Thus. and from cereal cultivation to cash crop cultivation has also been observed in the study areas. See Bhattarai (1994) for details on the ritual expenses of the Rajbanshis. See Gurung (19891 See Ojha (1983). As the human population has grown and continues to grow. adopting alternative forms such as Dhuki and Damedome Biha in their marriage practices. 8. and the consequent decrease In fertility brings a decline in the yields. They are now abandoning the custom of Bhumi Dan (Land Gift) during rituals because time and resources are in shorter supply. see Rambo (1983). cultural ecology is concerned with the strategies used to transform the natural environment into a system for the sustainable generation of natural resources and then to use these for subsistence and profit. The fieldwork was funded by the Tribhuvan . For a more extensive and deruiled understanding of the core and non-core elements of cultural ecology. more and more demands are placed upon the forest rendering any recycling provisions difficult. 9. A general pattern of shift from mono-cropping to multi-cropping and mixed cropping. As the local arable land gets extended. and by changing their cropping practices. observed since a few years.72 Occasional Papers H. 6. Increasing grain deficiency among the fanners was one ohvious consequence. Besides reducing the immediate fertility of soil. religion. Netting (1980). the forest area shrinks. In certain respects the migrants have even replaced these people from their nauve land.P. The only alternative would be more and more ceo-hazards in the future. see Moran (1982). They have also started growing vegetables for sale and run small scale trading businesses and have taken to seasonal migration to generate sources of cash. All these changes in the local sociocultural practices and economic activities have developed as their resistence to the environmental conditions and are the culturally structured adaptive strategies of the Rajbanshis for survival in the changing context of Rajgadh and its environs. They have changed their food habits and have started to use maize and millet in their diet. . Population increase in the study area has not only led to the depletion of forests and Iuelwood. They have also considerably substituted their conspicuous consumption and other expenses on tradition and rituals. a balanced relationship between the various components of the local ecosystem must be maintained. 5. See Sanyal (1965): Berile (198:5). The lack of other alternatives more reliable than agriculture tor earning a living has affected lands and forests adversely due to the increasing pressure of population which brings economic and social deprivati~n of the Rajbanshis solely dependent upon these reso~rces. IS one manifestation of aridization here. 7. 3. Cultural ecology in this context becomes the study of adaptive processes by which human societies and cultures adjust through subsistence patterns to a given e~virom~nt. the reductton of forest land also narrows down grazing area reducing the fodder available for the livestock which adversely affects the scope 01 livestock raising.:nti a large amount of goat meat and fish is consumed and slaughter of 20-30 goats in one Rajbanshi village is common. 4.Bergen Human Ecology Programme. Removal of the forest cover has also accelerated soil erosion. and grazing opportunities. In order to maintain a harmonious life pattern. Bhattarai: Rajbanshis ofRajgadh 73 As the human population depends heavily upon the wild vegetation of forest land (see Rai 1985 ) in terms of ecosystem. diversify their agricultural practices by improving irrigation system. Krishna B. 10. As land becomes scarce. and Rambo (1983). But the degree of change is limited and is determined by the ecological potential and the economic condition of these people for investment in improving the existing situation. This article is based on the author's fietd material collected for his Masters degree thesis on the Rajbanshis of Rajgadh VOC of Jhapa in 1993 . Kathmandu. Finally.d food to a group of 20-30 participants of the Lila and other guests for about u week to fifteen days. fodder. A relatively low. the human population supplies or recycles vel)' lew nutnents In turn hecause no system of tree plantation has so fill developed to contain thc process of deforestation.

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the hou. B. Thi applie I the whoI . the houschold/patrilincugcj which moved here from Surmeha village or Pipariya villag . a village meeting. The area of field work is a pan of the Tcrni. they elect a new one. and geese . This group i . aod i still w rking in the new poli tical environ ment after the 19 0 motvc rnent. hUl problems arc discussed in the kilcheri (lhe village meeting) before a final decision is made. AI (. and a new hou. S1l/1I/l'I/(/ Xlwr or Pipariya ghar. The kurma Iso \'0 hips the arne lineage deities.. II villag in the cou ntry. This paper which focu es on the Rana Thurn in Kailt Ii lux! Kan hanpur di stri ts in the outhweste rn comer of epal' . 111~ bhalcmansa has the lust wurd on village matters. and in so me villages the son of a fanner bhalemansa has been elected. fi hing is an important pan of women's work after the monsoon . tablir hcd. goat . lhey are seen a. In addition. . Although Rana Tharu villages. Kinch en l:' \\ ith the loam in general. as our infomlfints PUl it. chicken . noti ' ing the ize. Brothers e often live together in one household with their wives.J. household is in trouble. s rarce. one hou ehold. whether it! a mauer of convenience or due to family tr uble. \\ ith its flat tretchcs of agricultural land and patche of forest". all members o f a kunna \\ 110 live in one village build their houses clos 10 ea h th rill the ' arne \ illage quarter. \\ see our own work as a mu h reeded basi. more lhan fifly peop le. wheat. which also means house. but one al 0 unrs n m Ire distam kurma n. arxl knowledge about them i.fi is th· ~bcen studi . Few Rana Tharu s are wage-lab orers.the first to he approached for help when. Ran Tharus an . the mes engel' of the village. ll1ere may be several houses around a courtyard ~d sometime. heep.111/"' 1: & T r Kiurlsrn : Kurma. the village it elf i a cially imp rtant unit in this society. such as organizing TOad mainlenance and olher village wor k. ehold i. and a variety of lentils and vege tables. a r Ie In p viding a taboo-group when it orne. the also have their own socia l and religious leaders. and explai ns their marriage y tern in terms of th ir lineage hierarchy. Another tenn lied for Ihi social unit is a ghar. or if he rejects re-election.e. kurma. 0. e. one refers to 'the hou e" (i. llXl on the same principles ali the A village dlOllk i(/al' is eleC hluzlell/allsa. 111e hou ehold run the farm together and the br the of the patrilinea rc 1' \ n land j inti . for further research on the Rana Tharus. Thu s. but as long as they "ea t from one kilChcn" . 10 ·t irnponant of all.ers as \ ell as on the developing cthni idelllitie . and is responsible for implementing the de isions tUld plans of the bhale11l11llS0 and Ihe kircheri. 111'-: kurm a also play . a new branch of kurma (patrilineagc ) i ' also c atcd .in m re detail helo In addition I the housch ld's patrilineagc kunnai. • in a dillon 10 being an interesting field or anthropological r. thcy grow padd y. where each house (household) is represen ted by one male member. Today. We will come back 10 the lineage dc iti • . 10 marriage." -DIU. If the villager ' are not satisfied with the se rvices of the bhalemansa . He i. hapcv and number of lineage-deities represented UI ide a h u. the Rana Tharus have very lillie studied. unmarri ed ehildren. • for exam ple. at least theoretically. . chold is a segmenl of a patrilineal descent gro up. . Some bhulemansas have been continuously in charge of their villages fur many years. whether 1 e r di stunt. The village I' Icr is called a bhalemansa. suallj . like. whi h an: repres ented b sm: II circular ur square bumps ma:Ie of cowdung/rnud or by ::I wooden peg . recognize members f a ertain kurma patrilineage). bUI were earlier described as shifti ng cultivators. TIley also raise ca ttle. research on the Rana Tharu . This sy tern of traditional leadership has survived the Panchayat rule. Th ese arc located Just outside the entrance 10 the kit hen (a 10\\ platform ] and inside the deity-room (ko la ) next 10 the kit hen. However. He is elected by the kitclteri. u -11 occasi on '. KO/l•• and Kiln 7<) Gancsh I Ian Gurung T e . the seat of a bhalemansa is open La anyone who couununds the respect and confidence of the villagers. The Rami Tharus are n w settled farmers. ~Uld married so ns with their own fami lies. > KURM PATR ILIN EAL SYSTEM "111 Rana Tharus live in patrilineal extended households. When one talks anout. can break new ground f r p Ii rna . the relation: hip netween the pcop l • there ard their deit ies. arc organized according to epali laws on local organization. elucidate the role of patrilincage in their ocial y tern. explicat the ignificance of inside and outsid dichotomy. When a household pIit .

Some of the kurma deities have their scats in the kola. with regard to murrrage.. with their representations in the village shrine (bhuivai. while there is only one gau/hellam. the presence of these deities identifies a house as such. the deities have to he installed in a house before the house is seen as lit lor human heings. the ritual is ~nore elaborate. Each kurnia gl\es specific offerings to their various deities on speci fie occasions. hut it is nevertheless called 'one house' (gharv. The north is cosmologically important because it is known as 'the abode of the gods'. He writes: . can the family move in. so docs each Rana Tharu village have its own deities. However. much like the pal. This means that all households in the kurntu have the same gods and goddesses in the kola and outside the door (e. Ninuliun. Just as each kurma has its own constellation of deities. All of them are freshly made (of mud/cowdungj when a new house is built. they all have a village shrine to the south of the village settlement. regardless of kurntu membership.g . and the members of a patrilineal descent group tkurma. They are healers rather than priests. The deities are represented by small Circular or square bumps of cowdung/mud. because of his good reputation a. Without them. rather they receive pooja according to their individual need: The ritual official In each household (the eldest man or woman) propitiates the deities on behalf of the household.c. This shrine contams representations of deities which arc worshipped by all villagers. and Karivai. . There I~ no building. and we will desc. the relationship to the deities is important on the village level as well. firstly. IIl1d Kuri gI The choukidar is also trained by the gauthehara (village shaman/priest) in performing village rituals in his absence. This notion is shared between the Rana Tharus and the Dangma Tharus (cf. the other huildings me called pal It is this house which is built according to cosmological principles. while others arc placed just outside the northern entrance. (. main village shaman/priest". kitchen. or local healers.SO Orrustonu! P(lpcFS i. what constitutes a Rana Tharu house as such is the location of a certain set of deities. and Rana Tharus also usc Dangora Tharu or pahari healers. and one has done one's duty to the deities and co-villagers. Bishahar. since the lineage deities ikurma deuta. i. to the north. the deities arc included in the buildinu of the house from the start. although he worshipped his own Dangora Tharu deities at home. When set. In this 'Nay. have to 'move into the house' before the people thcmscl vcs can start cooking or livi ng there. Thus. and arc approached by the villagers individually when somebody is Ill. We will describe some aspects and areas of life where this can he seen quite clearly. one can see that the relationship to a certain constellation of deities is that which un ires members of the same kurma. Rana Tharu bharras arc sometimes used by other ethnic groups. hut rather "I cannot malTY him because we have the same deilles". KOLA COSMOLOGY: RELATION BETWEEN PEOPLE AND DEITIES As we have mentioned in the introduction.Ul"IIlIg & t. All the deities d) not 'eat' the same thing. only an opcn flat square plastered With cowdung/mud and sometimes with a wooden or tile-roofing.. In big poojas.'ihe it in some detail. A girl would not say that "I cannot marry him because he IS my cousin". M. worship the same kurrna deities. Ki1ldH'1I.h not usually have anything to ITJ with village level worship.. Durga. This is the way in which Rana Tharus talk ahout kurma membership. the relationship to the deities is important with regard to the house and the lineage. and they rccci ve a {iooja at the blioura khanc ritual. whether ghar (with deity-mom) or IS offered a pooja before the building can start. the kola and the kitchen (rosaiya) . usually close to a pccpal tree. the building which contains the household's deity room (kola) and kitchen (rosaiyai is also called a 'house' (ghar). which can he taken as a 'house warming' ritual. Only after this ritual is performed. It was obviously not seen as a problem that he worshipped Rana Tharu deities on behalf of the Rana Tharu villauers. On this occasion.c .. collecting or buying what is needed IIJr the f!ooja. family and neighbors arc also gIven a meal. 111e gauthehara is chosen by the village meeting. . Now. the f Irs! pillar . the bharras I. a shaman/priest <mel can he replaced if his services arc not considered satisfactory. In at least two of the villages we visited.c. for example. with the two purest and most important rooms. The shrine plays an important role in village life.' Kurma.. Kulll. and is responsible for preparing the rituals. Secondly. the choukular W. We have mentioned thal a household may well consist of more than one building... When a new ghar is built. the relationship between the Rana Tharus and their deities is what they consider extremely important. . In fact. Krauskopff 19R7) and Hindu societies in general".ting up a new building. where more than one ritual official is needed. i. ~ In a Rana Tharu village there may he many hha17<L1". Parvati. this is the house. and that they worship thcm according to the same rules.. Although the villages may vary in shape and size. In other words. The lineage as such also has a special relationship to a certain set 01 deities. . This is in congruence with McDonaugh's observation among the Dangora Tharus. the local bharras may assist the choukidar. As we see it. Nagurihai. such as fcsti vals and life-cycle rituals. the building is not a proper house at all for the Tharus" (McDonaugh in Barnes/de Copper/Parkin 19X5: 184).L~ a Dangora Tharu.

and with this WLXx! one lights the lire If)! cooking puri (wheat breads fired in ~lIeej for the wedding.. the functioning of the village organization secures proper performance of village rituals. according to S0111e 'If our informants. cUld Langura) arc only round in the bhuiva. some wood is cut.III·!"·II. She describes the boundaries of the Village 'LS "symbols of a power-struggle hetween men. ctc. Lstahli. 'Nc will C0111e back to this issue al the end ul the paper. After the worship.ihility of doing this on behalf of the villagers. Ko/". As we interpret it. "If the deities get angry. illness. the deities arc given a place in the sucial structure of each Rana Thnru village. Cation thread.(. The VIllagers claimed that the deities did not mind this. Further. Mari. we behcvc. although there are differences in Dangora and Rana Tharu religion and cosmology. the participation hy the deities is needed for the wedding to he successful. the village urea is not protected and cannot be inhabited by people. i. not referring to the bhuiva as an area. colored yellow with turmeric powder. the officiant offers ghcc (clarified butter). the importance of the relationship with the deities becomes apparent in some or the wedding rituals. and the spirits of the area" (ibid I j I ). Thirdly. in that their propitiation IS seen as a pan of the responsibility of the village leaders. is tied five or seven times around the tree toward the right. Another informant claimed that the Rana Tharus could definitely not have been semi-nomadic earlier. under the tree. In one of the villages we visited. and does namaskara. One informant emphasized that the vi liagcrs would die. Kurma. Thus.is a sIgn that the village deities arc not 'satisfied' for some rcaxun. setting hounds to the wandering spirits of the xiu: within the limits of the dwellingarea". Without the deities. or hy a wooden peg. Som. s: (. also holds true for the Rana Tharu village shrine. where she notes that the creation of a village shrine is a \vay of " . The maintenance of a good relationship wi th the protective VIllage deities is considered so Important in Runa Tharu society that a special person is given the respon. under a sal tree. Bhuiva is the name or the shrine.). Accompanied by seven (in the groom's ULSC) or five (in the bride's case) male members of the Kurilla. We have described earlier how this responsibility is shared between the gauthehara and the choukidar. This is a pooja given to Banaspati. No food is cooked lor the wedding before Banaspati has received offerings.: or the deities in the bhuivc: arc the same 'LS the kurnia specific deities (such . In a lew L·ases. This. people deify lucal shamans (bharras». seen as a right due to her as one of the deities of the area inhabited by the Rana Tharus. It is tempting to sec this as an adaption to caste Hindu customs. the gcddcss of the forest. and that when the gauthcham comes to the village in order to recreate peace and order in times of trouhle. he will only worry about the 'mood' of the village deities. willie others (such . of course. one might say. the founZbtll1l1 place of the village. Here. simply because "once a bhuiyu IS cstuhlisbcd. in that the ritual officiant can be replaced if his work is not considered good enough. as long as they were askccl heforehand whether they would accept the ·suhSlitu\(:s'. if there was no !JJII/iva in a vii lagc. not the various kurnu: deities.. there will he trouble (!Jod/l/o. and thus the best possible relationship to the duties. ()th~r local heroes 'U"C also worshipped in the bhuiva. This is similar to what Krauskoptf (in L'Ethnographic 19K7: I j I j describes among the Dangora Tharus of Dang. sweets . the Rana Tharus arc.hing a bhuiva means giving the deities a place to stay 111 the VIllage. The reason for this change ttl worship practice. which had to he established before people could sculc in the area. the father of the bride and the father of the groom perform the Banaspati pooja. .c. Patchaua. . each in their respective vi llages..•md cloves on a ritual tire taghian. was that animal sacrifice had become too expensive.uld we were told that these /)(){)jus arc for certain hh ut: (spints) rather than deities. It IS intcrcsung to note that village deities t1lJ longer receive blood sncrilicc. in the morning on the day before the wedding. epidemics. In addition to the deities.LS Saat Hhf/H·WIi'. represented by the priest. If there IS a lot of trouble 111 a VIllage (quarrels./IJ'I{lIg & TC K..l) in the village!" This may happen when the proscribed village rituals are performed. and the gauthellam may suggest yet another pooj« in order to recreate a balanced relationship between the people and the deities who protect them. It is performed close (0 the village.LS Patvati and NuguoJiai). The importance of the bhuiva stems from the fact that It IS seen as necessary for the well-being of the people cUld the protection of the villauc One informant described it ax 'the foremost place'. somettmcs explained as having a male counterpart. this is often seen . sprinkles water around it. When referring to the hhuivu in the way. hut bhuiv« itself is also considered a female deity. hut to the deities which arc seen 'lS inhabiting this area. she then "answers" hy giving (symhulically) the fuel needed lor the preparation of food for the wedding. We will give a few examples: As a part of the preparatory rites. the bhalemansa told us that the deities In the 111111iyo (village shrine) <U"C bigger than the ones people have in their house. tightings. Gila and sweets are later distributed as prasad. 1)()()JrIS arc performed just outside the bhuiya area. "tid Kiln ones outside each house. it cannot he moved".

This. we see this dichotomy present in many situations in regard to various aspects of social and religious life.\'. II" one wanders around too much 'outside' (hahira). As we understood it. This was explained to us as a sign of shyness: "If she walks around outside. the girl must be cautious. so this should not he seen . in the household and wedding rituals. can enter this room. would pollute the room and make the deities angry if they ever enter this area. Only kurma members. this has nothing to dl with where people enter the village. she is not shy. M. thcy'will encounter the deities in the bhuiva. the mothers of the bride and the groom. The custom under which the in-married women arc allowed into the kola and to participate in rituals for the kurma deities is not common among the Dangora Tharus. The same is reflected 111 the term used for the bhuiya by one of our informants. and Kuri 85 X4 A 1)(J{). ohviousl y. Only after the spirits from the outside are driven away for sure. at the outset they arc 'stopped' symbolically from entering the courtyard of the bride's house. and. The evil sprits of the 'outside' are stopped from entering 'inside' by the del tics.. On the village level. and especially with such a hig event as a wedding coming up.C. we were told by the bharra as he was blowing his mantras (protective spells) on the various items. The inside/outside dichotomy is also relevant on many occasions during the wedding rites. then people wil1 talk behind her back". The dichotomy is manifest where one slate is considered in many ways better. there is a deity-room (kola) in every 'house' (ghnr). who arc allowed imide the kola. i. Or. and will protect people and participate In wedding. But. The term 'insider' includes all male members of the patrilineage and their unmarried daughters. The inside of the house is seen as a protected area. safer or more proper than the other. Kola. whom we chose to call 'insiders' here.c . one's own village is seen . In Rana Tharu society. the girl is not allowed outside her house until the wedding day. is done in order to guard off the spirits which might have heen imbibed in the food. The food needed for the wedding party' I has to be brought from the outside of the house. which is always situated to the south of the village settlement. The notion of 'insiders' and 'outsiders' is also relevant with regard to the groom's arrival at the bride's house on the wedding day. hut refers to the fact that evil spirits arc believed to enter the village from the south.L. Then the deities in the village shrine (bhuivai also receive a pooja. nonmembers of the kurma and thus 'outsiders'. He and his party arc 'outsiders'. One has estahlished a relationship with the deities inside the village. we were also told that she could not risk the trouble from the 'spirits of the outside'. it also includes the unmarried women. Those. the safest.LS an ethnic term. in their respective villages. At the bhuiva. arc these items considered fit for wedding dinner. Samples of all the foodstuff have to he blessed by one of the local bharras before these can he used for cooking. and although they are welcome as honored guests after a while. The illness may well he caused by the bhut of the "outside'. sliarbat (sweet water). Here. who arc part of the villagc "insiders". All others. we see the inside/outside dichotomy reflected once again. etc. Gurung & T (' Kittelsen: Kurilla. purer. no supernatural beings 1I1 the vicinity are left out on this occasion. either have the same lineage or have the same identification to the lineage deities.(7.c . We will come hack to this in our section on the marriage system. This is usually done three times. and it must be the kurma's own production. Thus.. together with glll'l'. on the day before the wedding. Now all deities have received offerings. We will try 10 show how it is made relevant at the cosmological level. When the Marra has been to the house of the bride a few days before the wedding in order to 'see the deities' (deuta dekhani. hopefully. said a Raila Tharu. However. All the deities represented there have their stlian ("seat'. go With the vdlage choukid(lr (or lither ritual officiant) to lkl this P001U at the village shrine to the south of the villagc. their rcprcscmauon l plastered with fresh cowdung before receiving the offering of puris'. However.a abo has to he done in the house. He mentioned it as 'the entering point' of the village. first by the choukidar (village watchman! .. spices. the first food made for the wedding. this room is the innermost space of the house. it would not he surprising if one gets ill. even 'unknown' bhuts (sprits) receive offerings II] Thus. in other words. In the afternoon. where the kurm« deities receive some of the PII/i. i . INSIDE-OllTSIDE DICHOTOMY The Rana Tharus themselves do not refer III the 'insidcroutsidc' lhchotomy explicitly. In contrast to the world outside. This is the last of the preparatory rites before wedding. Since the village IS seen as an area protected hy its deities. and can count on their protection. the outside of the village is. i. this dichotomy becomes evident when we look at the relationship bet ween the villagers and the people. and has found everything to be OK. As we have already mentioned. This practice shows the special status of Rana Tharu women compared to the women of many other groups on the subcontinent. he stopped hy them. less safe than the inside.

whereas a Hindu marriage unites the son and the daughter of two lines". is actually allowed into the deity-room of her new house signifies that she is accepted 'inside'. and halanced relationship between the two families. When the groom arrives in his own village together with the bride and the wedding party. we were told. The most common way of inaugurating a magani relationship is through the help of a majpativa. Both women and men can be majpatiyas. either the kurma deities or the village deities. who was. 11U!f:ani where children down to the age of four or five can he 'reserv~d' for marriage with a certain person when they reach the marriageahle age". . This is so because "the cross-cultural variability in the social organization of gender relations and the existence of rare forms of marriages in specific societies render such definitions invalid" (Seymour-SmithlMacmillan 1986: 179). however. who is hired for fetching water. In Asian societies in general. therefore.. in addition to the creation of good future for the couple and the creation of children. M Gurung &: Fe Kittelsen: Kurmu. '. etc. This view of marriage as a 'mirror' of important aspects of society is. Anthropologists have hal difficulties in finding a universally applicable definition of the term. according to Needham (1971 b:5. That which is within the realm of the deities. and then by the younger sisters of the bride. and Kurt 87 messenger). It also corresponds broadly to Bennett's view on marriage among the Brahmans/Chhetries of Narikot: marriage (also) reveals a great deal about the relative status of men and women.. whether Hindu or not. etc. at the wedding). marriage is central to the social order". Fruzzctti (1990: xix) writes that "for Hindu society. villager. and that "love-marriage unites two individuals. they give up after being promised a small amount of rnoney. In Rana Tharu society. and cannot enter her previous kurma's kola (deityroom) again. cleaning pots. In her parents' house. cit. the most important aspect of marriage is to create a long lasting. received wisdom in anthropology and not our invention. she has to how to these kurma deities. or a family member can take the role of a mediator. is seen as having some kind of added value! MARRIAGE SYSTEM • In this part of the paper. Not only is she accepted. the girl. at the wedding. they have a betrothal system. but people insist that they have to be respected persons who arc on good terms with everybody. Kola.86 Occasional Papers G. There is usually one majpativa on the girl's side and another on the boy's side. if they are not warded off Marriage "refers to a polythetic class of phenomena". the difference between the 'inside' and the 'outside'. i. is for the bhut (spirits) rather than for the deities. and only then can the rest of the rituals in the groom's house start. mutually beneficial. When the main wedding ritual is finished. a member of her own father's lineage. as well as the bringing together of two lineages at marriage. but it will be her duty from now on to respect the deities of her husband's lineage.e. The fact that the bride. the significance of distinction between 'inside' and 'outside' connection of a person. is symbolically referred to. Cornaroff).) This time it is he who hrings someone from the 'outside'. but some persons arc known to have been majpatiyas for many magani relations and to have good information about available boys and girls in the VIcinity. In this way. The groom is stopped again when he is on his way into the kola (deity-room) in his own house on the day after the wedding ritual (in the girl's house). They ask for a small sum of money before they let the groom and his party pass in. I II i II I I I l . of course.. a marriage relationship has greater importance for more people than it has in the West. The term covers a great variation of different practices and ideas linked to the creation of a new bond between two persons and their respective families. the importance of the relationship between the people and their deities can lead to or he responsible for the second aspect. Hasan (1993) mentions that such majpatiyas are approached by the parents of eligible boys and girls and are asked to propose a suitable match. and about the structures of caste and kinship. As we see it. i. This pooja. we would claim. and. (Usually. both outside and inside. Any friend. Before anything else. then by the karbariyha (women from the village who help with cooking. The spirits of the outside could follow the wedding party inside the village. His sisters stop him this time. after this ritual. until the wedding ceremony. Among the Rana Tharus.LS important carriers of information about this reality. she has been 'transferred' to her husband's kurma (lineage). we look closer at the marriage system of the Rana Tharus in terms of their lineage system.c. a marriage broker. she has now become an 'outsider'. and they will not let him pass with his new wile "until they are given a cow". i. "He is continuously in search of 14. (Bennett 1983: 71) bY thiIS . a pooja has to be performed at the village border before they are let in. pOOja 11 The first aspect. these people are all representing the 'inside' either the village or the patrilineage of the bride's father". We see marriage customs as adapted to a specific social and religious reality.e. . namely.

they themselves claim to have a status superior to other groups. The Rana Tharus do not allow marriage between people of the .Occasional Papers r: M.marriages' . where people of lower caste seem to 'forget" their ancestor's clan name. This kuri . as we have already mentioned. they practise marriage between people of the same status. "There is little doubt that this obliteration of caste distinctions. marry within one's own kuri. Although not a common practice in Rana Tharu society. when we mentioned this episode to some other people in the village. but we will still describe the Rana Tharu marriage system as isogamous. they arc definitely seen as socially inferior. We arc not really sure that the kuris are clans. However. These marriages arc talked about in derogatory terms by some Rana Tharus. some houses are huilt in the reverse (ultha) order of the 'normal' design. and Kun girls who want to leave their husband for one reason or another (and) keeps a mental list of such girls" (ihid. It is the responsibility of the majpatiya to see to it that the two families match.c. However. This strict lineage-exogamy is still valid. the fact that they arc traditionally isogamous and the fact that women in this society are not seen having less (ritual) value than men have may account for the bride-price practice. It was interesting to note that some of the people we talked to denied that they belonged to any specific kuri. Hasan (1993) writes that a relationship between a boy and a girl of the same kurma is not at all possible to regularize. i. the development of such strategies may he a sign of changes to come.. perhaps akin to the caste-system. they smiled and said that "there is no wonder why they would not tell you their kuri name. they arc shy". they are entered into by the boy and girl without planning and arrangements made by their parents. and remains. What they did emphasize was that one should. Among the Rana Tharus.. There is a correlation between marriage payments and other features of social organization. Such marriages are usually 'love. we have to admit. bachha pani bhavo. ke game ta! (They are already married. producing greater fluidity in marriage alliances was. it can be seen as logical that the one who receives something (the groom's family receives a woman) 17 should also give away something • "These payments serve to legitimize marriage relationships at the same time as they signify or mark the transfer of rights in women and/or children" (SeymourSmith/Macmillan 1986: 142). Thus. The kuris are best explained by using an example. writes Quigley (!lJX6: 7X}. the Rana Tharus are traditionally kuri . This goes back seven generations on the father's SIde and three on the mother's side. so far. and have children as well. (.{ . McDonaugh claims that this is the practice of certain clans among the Dangora Tharus of Dang. i. But. but our informants claimed that it was more rigid earlier. people who "have the same deities". to ensure that the alliance is socially acceptable. A few of the lower kuris arc said to intermarry. indicating that these people belonged to a low kuri. however. The kuris create a social hierarchy.endogamous. these people were trying to avoid stigmatization. All Rana Tharu lineages seem to belong to certain kuris. but our informants never explained these T social units to us III terms of a common ancestry. This rule of group-endogamy seems to be losing its grip though.endogamy is not rigid. ideally.. and that the couple would become outcasts for ever. Among the Rana Tharus. The lineages of the bride and the groom are seen as socially equals (having the same kuri) and ritually equals (there is no difference between wifegivers and wife-takers). While dowry is common in most (Hindu) groups around them.11 T C Kntcisen. This is reflected in statements like: "No other kuri would ever marry an Ulthawa" This is where the term kuri becomes significant. what could one now do about it"). since the single units seem to he classified after diet and other practices. "We are all Rana Tharus".sarne patrilineage (kurma). and may not be accepted in the beginning by the boy's or girl's families. Although they have been seen as 'backward' by others. Our informants were not sure of the number of kuris.c . it seems that the couple is accepted after some time. While being lineage-exogamous. These conclusions. As one informant put it: Biha Rare sakyo.111"11111. These houses have their kitchen to the south instead of the north. 59). and that these clans arc not seen as socially inferior to other clans in this society (McDonaugh in Barnes/de Coppet/Parkin !9R5: 186). The Rana Tharus ill not usc an astrologer for comparing the two parties before a marriage process can start. a common practice In diaspora Newar settlements". they said. as well as among the Dangora Tharus. In denying membership to a low kiln.c. i. indicating the degree of purity as the principle of classification. and have not allowed marriage outside the group. There are now quite a few examples of Rana Tharus marrying Dangora Tharus and Paharis. and there is no strong social stigmatization of such mixed marriages. the Rana Tharus have a bride-price system. i. . arc drawn from a rather uncertain set of data. Kurmu. Kilili. In Rana Tharu society. first of all. the Rana Tharus have been group-endogamous. Quigley describes the same phenomenon among diaspora Newars. however. Traditionally.c. this seems most intelligible to us. nor did anyone Jist exactly the same names 1('.

and has connections to cosmology. 4 CONCLUSION We hope that this paper can stimulate further research on the issues taken up here. The Rana Tharus have no images or figures to represent their deities. Rajaure. and studied by Srivastava. but then she must find another man whom she can marry. Kittelson is an MA student of social anthropology at the University of Oslo. as well as by Hasan in his book "Affairs of an Indian Tribe" (1993). both within each kurma. ritual knowledge is passed on from a woman to her eldest daughter-in-law. Rana Tharu women can break off a magani. There is no rule for excluding unmarried girls from participating in the household rituals. although they only perform the rituals themselves in the bhuiya pooja before the wedding of their children. and who is willing to pay back the magani price. Recent literature on the Tharus (ef. Kola. Majumdar. and at the village level. took up certain aspects of the social and religious life of the Rana Tharus which reflect implicit 5. notions and ideas in their society. the offerings arc simply 3. the boy's family has to give certain prescribed varieties of sweets and other gifts at certain intervals IX. This dichotomy also becomes relevant at a more abstract level. This practice knits the two families together and the gifts are seen . Tove C. We will make a comparison with the Dangora Tharus again. This. This goes for the inside/outside of the house as well as the village. In these lineages. Krauskopff) has concentrated on the Dangora Tharus. In the context of explicating how these characteristics cut across the spheres of family live. in many ways. Kittelsen: Ku I"IIW . claims Krauskopff. since they are marginal to their husband's patrilineal unit (in L 'Ethnographic 1987: 154). India. The women also take part in certain rituals at the village shrine. 4. She can also leave her husband for another man. This is reflected in the fact that a sum equaling the price of the sweets has to be paid back to the boy's family if the girl or her family breaks the relationship. M. a small wooden peg). the deities are represented hy simple cowdunglmud humps (or. From the inauguration of the magani relationship until approximately a year before the wedding. and others in between the forties and sixties. This makes the relationship between the people and their deities a basic one. it is a fact that they have a social and ritual status quite different from that of women in some of the other groups in the South Asian subcontinent. some aspects of the Rana Tharu marriage system were discussed.L~ a part of the marriage payment. 2. their life is a far cry from the picture of the former princesses of Rajasthan pushing their husbands' plates with their feet. Krauskopff writes that in-married women have an ambiguous status among the Dangora Tharus of Dang.90 Occasional Papers 1 G. The Norwegian Research Council.e. is the marginality to the husband's kurma which makes them ambiguous. The Tharu population has been mentioned in various books from the last century. His last field work was financed by the Norwegian Research Council. NOTES I. i. I 1 . but Rana Tharu culture is very similar on both sides of the border. The Rana Tharus live in the districts of Kailali and Kanchanpur in Nepal and in parts of Uttar Pradesh in India. and therefore the necessity of including them in all aspects of life. and Kuri 91 The wedding payments do not only include a sum of money paid by the groom's family at the time of the wedding.. as far as we could observe. In many ways. the notion of the deities as protectors of the people and village. This paper was presented at the Conference on "Nepal: Terai Cultures. the in-married women do take part In the worship of the kurma deities. But it deals with the Rana population in Uttar Pradesh. Gancsh M. Her field work in 1993/94 was financed by NIAS. The Rana Tharus have elaborate wedding rituals which reflect. The Rana Tharus are only explicitly dealt with in the works of Gurung and Skar. it was also ohvious that while Rana Tharu women are definitely very different in some ways from other women in the area. The Dangora Tharus do not entertain the orthodox Hindu ideas about women who have been perceived as ritually unclean by the latter group hecause of their physiology". the women are even responsible for doing pooja to the household deities. 1995) organized by the Norwegian Institute for International Affairs in Oslo. but also sweets and other gifts given throughout the magani years. and cosmology. and The University of Oslo. in some cases. the concept that the 'inside' is different from 'outside' is an underlying idea in this society. without being socially stigmatized. In the last part of this paper. In some lineages (namely those with a female main deity). patrilineage. wedding rituals were used as a particular example. Although the picture painted by some writers of the 'liberated' Rana Tharu women is not correct. This ambiguity makes them unfit for participation in kurma deity worship in her husband's kurma. Gurung & Te. The first part of the paper. in the context of the kurma and kuri hierarchy and the status of Rana Tharu women. Mathur. In these early materials Tharus arc seen as far more homogenous than has later been acknowledged. Democracy and Development" (June 9-11. and girls are also not allowed to participate in these rituals in their father's house before marriage. Statens Liinekasse for Utdanning. At both the house and village levels. firstly. their closest neighbors. Her field work in 1995 was financed by the Norwegian Research Council. The national horder between the two countries runs through Rana Tharu community zone. the characteristics of their society mentioned above. Gurung has done field work among the Tharus in 1989 and in I993!'J5. Often they have no representation at all. Secondly. This hook is the only monograph on the Rana Tharus. McDohaugh. On many occasions. with regards to lineage membership. In Rana Tharu society. These are. In that context. who are. village life.

1994 Comaroff. Toffin (ed. Marriage and Ritual in a Bengali Society. D. Kipta Balla. Oxford: JASO Occasional Papers. On the contrary.): Nepal: Past and Present. 4. Her younger sisters are unmarried. We were also told that some people would make an agreement even before the birth of their children that their children would be ritual friends (I'unjlmit) if they arc of the same sex. M. 1993 Krauskoppf. . 1985 sex. C. In the first wedding season (Dec. 192. Only a few of our informants referred to the Hindu representations of the mountain Kailash as the 'abode of the gods'. Problems and Processes. Haniula. C. 181. and a place which some of the deities VISIt when they 'go away' part of the year./Jan. done at a spot on the floor/ground which is cleaned with water or cowdung/rnud first. while both the deities and the guests are offered malida (rice flour fried 111 I'hee) 111 the second season (Feb. . Delhi: Oxford University Press. who thus still belong to their father's lincaze The . Our informants distinguished these 'Seven SIsters' as Durga. Vol. Gahibi. 127. Affairs ofan Indian Tribe: The Story or My Tharu Relatives. and Kuri 93 6. . Macmillan Dictionarv Macmillan Press Ltd . and Dangru. "Le naissance de un village Tharu". Despite the differences between them in status and practice. Balla. Gellner. or Anthropology.M. 8. was clearly present.) 1980 . . "The Tharu House. New Delhi: Sterling Publishers. the deities are offered puris. 1983 Dungerous Wives and Sacred Sisters: Social and Symbolic Roles ofHigh Caste Women in Nepal.. Kola.N. the notion of the north as a location indicating an upward direction (cf Krauskopff . Opposition and Hierarchy".. Kathmandu: Mandala Book Point. 13 14. Lucknow. Barnes/de Coppet! Parkin (eds. Literature and Cultural Identity in Nepal. A. .L.pirits receive alcohol. J. and Hulka. G. CNRS. Giri. Kittelsen: Kurma. However. A. Bishiena. 9. 16 17 18. pp. Gurung & 'LC. a young educated Rana Tharu girl said that the dowry practice could be seen as 'buying a husband'. 135. G. as one hillman put it. the gauthehura is often also called bharra. Seymour-Smith. 7. M. spices. pp. Buggeland. 12. "About Bhume. Badaivak. This is done in the field next to the bhuiya. London: Academic Press. Tribalism and the Position of Women: The Problem of Newar Cultural Identity" (Draft for Conference on Language. this pattern is followed in the proper/big maganis t acchu maganis. 19 Some of the names of the kuris arc: Thakur. 15. The term refers both to the system of betrothal and to the male/female fiance. ghee. as are the wedding guests. . . D. the rest of the offerings are thrown "in all directions" to bhuts with no names. and at the end of the ritual. 10 I\. who did not see their own practice of bride-price as 'selling a daughter'. L'Ethnographie. L. 1990 (1982) The Gift or a Yirgin: Women. Situla. together with two small figures made of dough (said to " . REFERENCES Bennett.. At the end. water. (ed. one of the wedding guests runs around the whole group of people zuthered there ("while holding his breath") with an egg m hIS hand. and magunis (fiances) if they are of the opposite Fruzzetti. Hong Kong: 1987 Lecornte-Tilouine.zlvlarch). This was seen as obvious to our informants. Contributions to Indian Sociology.): Contexts and Levels.92 Occasional Papers G. New York: Columbia University Press. Ganga. 1986 "Introversion and Isogamy: Marriage Patterns of the Ncwars of Nepal". Kalinuua.): Anthropology or Nepal: Peoples. represent the bride and the groom).). while there is a possibility of doing less elaborate ntuals t chilam maganii according to the economical status of the boy's family. The Meaning of Marriage Payments. ThIS egg then thrown away. L. "Kali Worship among the Santals of Nepal: Hinduization and Ethnic Boundaries". XX (I).1987) as the direction of the mountains. The Rana Tharus are SImilar to the Dangora Tharus in this respect. 1989 "Hinduism. 75-95. 1993 fs McDonnaugh. SOAS) Hasan. 1986 Quigley. we were told. M. That is. a Misunderstanding in the Himalayas". etc. Oxford India Paperbacks. The Rana Tharus have two wedding seasons. Allen (cd. pp. A group of people accompanying the groom to the bride's house.

33 Gurkha expansionism 24 Guthi 41 Habsburg Empire 5 Hal 53.69 Bhojpuri 20 Bhoura Khane ritual 81 Bhuiya 82-85. 73 Bharras 80. 91. 81.60 Hasuwa 62 Hauli 66 Hill Matwalis 57 Hinduization II Hindukush-Himalaya I Human Rights Commission 28 IL028 Indra 60 INGO(s) 48 International Decade for the World's Indigenous People 29.93 Ghar 79. 80.INDEX Aali 62 Aashari Ghasari 60 Adhyan 64 Aghiari 84 Assam 26 Assimilation Theory 23 Awadhi 20 Badmas 83 Bahira 85 Baje-Bajai Pooja 42 Ban Jhankri Pooja 43 Banaspati 84 Banaspati Pooja 84 Barha Magarat 39. 92. 38 Ireland I Jaad 40. 7 Ganesh 57 Gauthehara 80. 84. 83. 6. 86. 86 Bheja 39. 4. 86 Chura 67 Citizenship Certificate 29 Collective identity formation 2. 82. 13 Dalits 28 Damai 57 Dangora Tharu 80. 94 Dao 62 Darjeel ing 26 Deoniya 57 Deuta dekhan 86 Dhangni 62 Dhanhar 63 Dhikuri 41 Dhimal 23.45-47 Jaari 46 • .87 Biaj Marauni 64 Bir Nernbang 27 Bishaliar 81 Bodo/Boro/Bara 55 Bossila 62 Burundi I Canada I Catalonia 8 Chewar 47 Choukidar 80. 93 Bhuiya Pooja 92 Bhumi 43 Bhumi Dan 76 Bhut 85.93 Dusadh 22 Ethnic Reconscientization 18 Ethnicization 25 Free Tibet Movement 26 French Revolution 5. 84. 15 Gopal Khambu 27 Gorkhanization 24. 83 Bhar 56. 83. 89.47 Beskang Bajai Pooja 42 Bhaijeri 44 Bhalemansa 79.85 Ghee 84. 34-36.93 Global ecumene 6.24 Dhokra 63 Dhuki 76 Dini 64 Dom 22 Durga 81.51 Bheja Khelne 49 Bhith 63.81.

Index Occasional Papers Jadan 20 Jhangar 22 Jotar 62 Kachaura 45 Kachiya 62 Kadisiruwa 60 Kalwar 57 Kami 57 Karbariyha 86 Kariya 81 Khambuan 20 Khambuan ko Awa) 27 Khasan 20 Khesari 68 Khetipati 53 Khoria 45 Khutti 62 Koch/Koche 55 Kochila 20 Kodal 53.55 Thekka 64 Tibet I Ultha 89 Ulthawa 89 United People's Front 30 USSR I Yugoslavia I. 75 Moai 62 Mono-cropping 75 Mukhiya 41-43.71. 33 Nepal Rastriya lana Mukti Morcha 28 Nepal Sadvabana Party 31.91.90.73. 43 Praja Bikas Karyakram 22 Prasad 84 Principle of ownership by birth 59 Prithvi Narayan Shah 20.81-87. 73 Limbuan Mukti Morcha 27 Limbuan 20 Madhesrya 24. 30 Nepalization 23. 50 Newar 57 NGO(s) 48 Nigeria I Niradhar 81 Pahadiyas 25 Pahur 47 Pal 81 Pana 69 Panch Kanya Mai Poo)a 42.30 Magani 88.54-70. 47 Rangsiruwa 60 Rashtra-Bhasha 19.92 Kurma deuta 81 Langura 82 Law of Least Effort 66 Laxmi Prasad Devkota 24 Lilais) 53. 12 • I . 30 Natley 43 Nepal Bandh 29 Nepal Communist Party . 18.I' kola 87 Kurma 78.72 Raikar 63 Rajbanshi 52.77 Ra)gadh 52.38 Rights of Indigenous People 29 Rodi 47 Ropahar 66 Rosaiya 81 Rwanda I Saat Bhawani 82 Sadvabana Parishad 27 Saha 57 Sanskrit Education 30 Sanskritization 23.24 Satar 18.32 South Africa I Sri Lanka 1 Sthan 84 Subba 24.46 Multi-cropping 66.UML 22. 28-30 Rassi 63 Rastriya Swayamsevak Sangh 26 Rastriya-Bhashaharu 19 Raute 22 Right to Self-Determination 28.32.61 Kola 78. 71. 85-87 Kurali 62 Kuri 78. 93. 94 Magar 57 Magarat 20 Maghesakaranti 60 Main Dhare 43 Maithil20 Malaha 57 Mana 46 Mandali Baje-Bajai Poo)a 42 Mantras 86 Micro-economic niches 67 Mixed cropping 68. 46.22 Seasonal migration 68. 24. 75 Multi-cultural democracy 7.25. 82 Passini 62 Patchaua 82 Peepal tree 82 Poojats) 42. 75 Sharbat 84 Sherma 45 Sidol63 Sikkim 26 Singo Nawa 56 Siva Sena 26 Social integration 17.24 New Guinea 39. 81.22. 9. 89.33. 90.57.27.37 Nepal lanajati Party 20.33 Subhas Ghising 26 Sudhyain 47 Susupak Bhe)a 42 Sutli 63 Tamba Saling 20 Tamuan 20 Tera din kriya basne 46 Teraun 46 Thakur 57 Tharu 54.30. 24.74 Raksi 40. 23. 36. 18. 33 Proto-nations 6 Puri 84 Quebec 1 Rai 57. 30 Nepal lana Party 20 Nepal lanajati Mahasangh 19. 92 Kurma '. 82 Namaskara 84 Nari 82 National Democratic Party 22 National integration 17.74. 12 Muluki Ain 25 Muri 67 Musahar 22 Muslim 57 Mustang 26 Musuri 68 Myth of homogeneity 5 Nagarihai 81.79.60.36-38 Nepali Congress Party 22.34.27.58.89. 43 Parange Poo)a 42 Parima 44 Parvati 81.56. 28. 27. 23.61.31.

Tribhuvan University Sunita Upreti (Bastola). (Anthropology). (Sociology). Development and Underdevelopment: A Preliminary Sociological Pers pecti ve Chaitanya Mishra VOL. D. (Sociology): Banaras Hindu University Prabhakar Lal Das. D. Reader and Chairperson. Lecturer and former Chairman. 13. Philippines Tulsi Ram Pandey. 24.A.A.S. 18. Lecturer. M. Program in Anthropology at Harvard University Pratibha Gautam.A.A. Department of Sociology/Anthropology. 4.A. M. Professor and former Chairman. Lecturer. Lecturer. 23. University of Hawaii Padam La! Devkota. Cornell University Kiran Dutta Upadhaya. (Sociology).A. 3. Fisher Migration. I. FACULTY Ganesh Man Gurung 22. D. Ph. D. D. M. (Anthropology). University of Florida Rishikeshab Raj Regmi. (Anthropology). Lecturer. Berkeley Ram Bahadur Chhetri.A. 14. Ph. M. (Anthropology). Tribhuvan University (on deputation in Bhadrapur Campus) Dor Bahadur Bista 2.S. (Sociology). (Rural Sociology). Lecturer and former Chairman. (Anthropology). 2 I. D. Reader. 12. Sociology and Anthropology Curriculum and the Needs of Nepal Krishna Bahadur Bhattachan "Romanticism" and "Development" in Nepalese Anthropology James F. M. 3. 4. (Sociology). (Sociology). (Sociology). Tribhuvan University. (Anthropology). currently enrolled in a Ph.A. 25. M.Accountant Krishna Karki . Ph. Native Strategies for Resource Management Om Prasad Gurung Natural Causes and Processes of Poverty in Micro Settings Tulsi Ram Pandey Factors Associated with Occupational Socialization in Rural Nepal Kiran Dutta Upadhyay 8. Banaras Hindu University Krishna Bahadur Bhattachan.A.A. Ph. Professor and former Chairman and Dean. MA. (Sociology). Tribhuvan University Laya Uprety.Banaras Hindu University Kailash Nath Pyakuryal. Ateno De Manila University. 8. (Anthropology). M. D. Lecturer. 10 11. M. Lecturer. 7. 21. University of California.A.S. Ph. Dilli Ram Dahal. 6. 17. (Sociology). Employment. Sulochana Thapa . Sociology and Anthropology: An Emerging Field of Study in Nepal Om Gurung The Past and Future of Sociology in Nepal Bishnu Bhandari 3. Tribhuvan University Gyanu Chhetry. Bhagalpur University Bhanu Timsina. D. STAFF Phanindreshwor Paudel 2. (Anthropology). Tribhuvan University (PartTime from Bhaktapur Campus) Hari Bhattarai. Professor and former Chairman.A. M. University of Hawaii (PartTime from CNAS) Binod Pokhrel. Institute of Agriculture and Animal Sciences. Lecturer. Michigan State University Chaitanya Mishra. Ph. D. Ph. Economic Modernization in a Chepang Village in Nepal PART-TIME 20. Merc~ntilism and Domestic Industry in West-Central Nepal: Significance for Anthropological Study of the Community Stephen L. Lecturer. currently enrolled in a Ph.Peon " 8. Program in Anthropology at Delhi University Om Gurung. M. M. Tribhuvan University Saubhagya Shah. A Socioeconomic Profile of the Porters in the Central Mid-Hills of Nepal Kiran Dutta Upadhyay 7. 2. Lecturer. 1 PUBLICATIONS FACULTY OF THE DEPARTMENT I. Lecturer. (Anthropology) Tribhuvan University. Nepal School of Sociology/Anthropology 2. Tribhuvan University. University of Poona. (Sociology). (Social Development). 16. Television and the Child in Nepal: An Assessment of Viewing Patterns Dyuti Baral I 9. Lecturer. M. 19.OCCASIONAL PAPERS VOL. 4. University of Calcutta Gopal Singh Nepali. M. (Sociology). Michigan State University Raju Tamot. Ganesh Man Gurung. 5. (Social Development). Professor Emeritus. Lecturer. M. Adaptation. (Anthropology).Assistant Administrator Prem Shrestha . M. (Anthropology). Tribhuvan University Surendra Mishra. D. 3. Ateno De Manila University. (Sociology). Culture and Resource Management for Subsistence: An Anthropological Perspective Bhanu Timseena 6. Ph. Tribhuvan University.A. Ph. and Socio-Cultural Change: The Case of the Thakalis in Pokhara Ram Bahadur Chhetri 5. Some Sociological Reflections on Development in the Eastern Himalayas Gopal Singh Nepali 4. M.Office Assistant Ram Bhakta Karki . 9. University of Philippines Phanindreswor Paudel. Mikesell and Jamuna Shrestha . 7. M. Philippines Yubaraj Luintel. Professor. D. (anthropology). Bombay University. Working Conditions and Mode of Living: The Case of Nepali Watchmen in Bombay ADMINISTRATIVE I. Lecturer. 6. (Rural Sociology).A.A. Tribhuvan University 5. 15. M.

and complete address should appear on the first page. Citation in the text should include the author's surname. and publisher's name. Himalayan Anthropology. The texts should refer to notes numbered consecutively. dissertation abstracts. send one copy of the manuscript separately.g. They may. however. year of publication. All correspondences related to editorial and subscription should be addressed to: The Chairperson Central Department of Sociology/Anthropology Tribhuvan University Kirtipur.d. then give the name of the author as suggested above. notes. editor's name. 7. 19HO. 4 Anthropology. Contributors arc requested to maintain consistency throughout their articles. research reports.Public Policy Gerald D. The Hague: Mouton.g. Caste. Berreman 2 "P I' Movement" of 1990 Development Issues Raised during t h e eop e s Krishna B. and page number. author's name. year of publication. year of publication. Forestry and Farming System in the Mid-Hills of Nepal Kiran Dutta Upadhyay . the title of the article. after citing the full reference once. Mikesell Case Studies on Domestic Servants: Reflections on Rural Poverty Saubhagya Shah NOTES TO CONTRIBUTORS Occasional Papers in Sociology and Anthropology publishes articles. "Hypcrgamy. affiliations.p. year of publication. Socio-Economic and Cultural Aspects of Aging III Nepal Rishikeshab Raj Regmi Religion. original research papers. their material on computer floppy disks using IBM compatible word processing programs. Contributions to lndian Sociology. to be followed by et al. usc n. 3 1. Society and State in Nepal Dipak Raj Pant Community Development as Strategy to Rural Development Kailash Pyakuryal National Integration in Nepal Ganesh Man Gurung & Bishnu Bhandari The Failure of Confidence Mechanism Tulsi Ram Pandey Building a New American Academic Anthropology Tom Cox Afro-American Sociologists and Nepali Ethnography Stephen L. 14: 1-34 I I' the year and the place of publication are missing. c. All pages should be numbered.Vol. If the reference is to an article from an edited book. Bhattachan 3 4 Anthropological Perspectives on Grassroots Development in Nepal Padam Lal Devkota Deforestation and Rural Society in the Nepalese Terai Rishikeshab Raj Regmi 5 6 The Current Socioeconomic Status of Untouchables in Nepal Thomas Cox Group Process for People's Participation in Rural Nepal: Reflections from a Micro Level Study Youba Raj Luintel 7 Sherpa Buddhists on a Regional Pilgrimage: The Case of Maratika Cave at Halase Eberhard Berg ' 8 Book Review Hemant Kumar Iha . Use double quote marks (" ") while quoting sentences and single quotes (. Authors must take full responsibility for the originality. The bibliographical list should preferably include only the works cited. and Kinship among the Chetris of Nepal". Use spellings as followed in the New Webster Dictionary or Oxford Dictionary. but giving the relevant page number if it is different. and publisher's name. respectively. ") for a single work/phrase.: Gray John. place of publication. book reviews. Book reviews should not.g. 3. If the publication to be cited is authored by more than two persons. The anthropological style of referencing is preferred. 4. If the same reference is cited more than once continuously. and other information of interest in the areas of the sociology and anthropology of Nepal and other Himalayan regions. Kathmandu 5. professional announcements. contain footnotes. All notes and footnotes should appear at the end of the paper. all references should be incorporated in the text itself. review articles. e. 8. VOL. Development and . and page number. contents. cd James Fisher. e. Co~ntributors arc requested to send. I I' the reference is from a periodical. the title of the article. "The Role of the Priest in Newar Society". The title of the paper. place of publication. the title of publication along with its edition number. and opinion expressed in their articles The copyrighted material which is to be reproduced in the articles must be suitably acknowledged. if possible. and n. 2. 6. then use the surname of the first author. use ibid. however. the title of the book. and references should be typed double-spaced. followed by full first name or initials). Both the Nepalese and foreign scholars may submit their articles. The texts. gi ve the name of the author as suggested above. 9.: Greenwol d Stephen 1978. Materials submitted should be in English or in Nepali.: (Sorokin 1978:49). N. Entries for the bibliographical list should follow the following order: author's name (surname. the title of the periodical with its volume number.

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